Recovering the Lost World,
A Saturnian Cosmology -- Jno Cook
Chapter 12: Saturn and Archaeology.
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Contents of this chapter: [The Hand Axe] [Lascaux] [Catal Hoyuk] [Endnotes]
The Hand Axe Revisited
Having suggested in the previous chapter that Saturn appeared (and was recorded) in the Upper Paleolithic and in the Neolithic as a composite set of four (or five) planets, it is time to extend this idea backwards in time with some additional well-founded speculation.
[Image: Cutting pebble, naturally backed end scraper or cutting tool, Acheulean hand axe. All from the Oldowan culture, Africa. Shown in order of historical development. After Jacquetta Kawkes, "Prehistory" (1965)]
As I mentioned in a previous chapter, the Acheulean hand axes of the Lower Paleolithic (from roughly 1.5 million ya to 40,000 ya) -- which had appeared over the course of more than a million years in Africa, Europe, and Western Asia -- look so much alike that they seem to have been manufactured from blueprints which were universally available for a million years. I will now suggest that this blueprint was seen in the skies near Earth, and, in fact, the model object was seen launched through the skies, just as hand axes were meant to be thrown.
What hints at this is the off-center location of the almond point of the Acheulean hand axe, clearly shown above. The offset serves no purpose in its use, yet it is always there. It looks like we are seeing Saturn (with Neptune?) and Uranus locked in the usual position of having their magnetic poles located together, so that an extensive coma, enclosing both, is rounded at the bottom, peaked at the top, and offset in one direction. The rotation of Uranus in the plane of the ecliptic would cause the figure in the sky to look three-dimensional yet flattish. All sides of it would be seen over the course of a year or with a number of passes.
Homo erectus did not add or subtract anything from the original design. The sharp edges on all sides of the hand axe were the inadvertent result of chipping the stone to shape. The large size was mandated by what was seen at arm's length, which suggests that Saturn and Uranus were seen relatively close to Earth, although it is more likely that instead we are seeing a much more extensive coma. The centers of the two masses constituting the Acheulean hand axe, the rounded main portion and the peaked upper part, are in the same proportions as the much later body and head of the Venus figurines.
What argues against Homo erectus having thought up, designed, and tested this assault weapon on his own, is not only the small size of his brain, but also the fact that no further inventions were ever made. When Homo neanderthalensis appears, a million years later, he develops stone cutting tools in the blink of an eye. [note 1]
Homo erectus kept the off-center almond point dictated by the original blueprint, but also kept the unwieldy size. A hand axe of half the size would have weighed one quarter as much, could have been thrown further and more accurately, yet would have done nearly the same damage. Did anyone ever think to test this idea? Did any Homo erectus ever think? Homo erectus did, however, have the mammalian facility for imitation, and the cultural structure to spread this idea everywhere. At least, everywhere in the world where antelopes congregated at watering holes. (The tool is missing from the jungles of Eastern Asia.)
If my speculations are correct, it means that Saturn, as I already suggested, remained within the inner domain of the Solar System after its re-entry three million years ago, at least, periodically. One and one-half million years ago Saturn was seen for extended periods of time by our remote ancestors (seen for periods of a hundred years or more among the inner planets).
Mars was not part of the Saturnian planet system at that remote time, for otherwise Homo erectus would have developed the stone dagger instead.
Gimbutas documented the Neolithic (7000 to 3600 BC), the first period to have small villages and communities in Europe which in turn provided accumulations of discarded pottery and sculpture in concentrated locations. The Upper Paleolithic (roughly 40,000 to 10,000 BC), in contrast, is the era of wandering hunters in Europe and Asia. These people left nothing behind for us to find except infrequent kill sites, occasional rock shelters, a few figurines, and -- by chance -- some 300 decorated below-ground caves throughout Europe and into Asia. One of the best known of these is the decorated cavern of Lascaux.
[Image: The cave at Lascaux. An aurochs and horses. After lascaux.culture.fr]
In 1960 André Leroi-Gourhan and Annette Laming, in an analysis of the cave of Lascaux (15,000 BC -- 10,000 BC), concluded that, invariably, the drawn figures of animals in alcoves face each other and are paired by types -- a horned animal (aurochs or bison) against a horse -- and suggested a male-female dichotomy. What was the meaning of this? Neither of these animals were hunted and, although Lascaux and some 300 other caves are overflowing with images of wild animals, the execution of new images could not have been all that frequent for the caves were apparently in use for extremely long periods. The occasion to execute another "aurochs and horse" scene must have been very infrequent. [note 2]
... folklore and thesis
Leroi-Gourhan, in The Art of Prehistoric Man in Western Europe (1968), writes:"To take what is known about prehistory and cast for a parallel in the life of present-day people does not throw light on the behavior of prehistoric man."
Of course, this -- reconstructing prehistory on the basis of contemporary behavior and thinking -- is exactly what has been done anyway. The reconstruction was started by the Abbe Breuil, early in the 20th century, who (as Leroi-Gourhan notes) formulated the whole of the folklore tradition of Stone Age big-game hunters -- hunting magic, initiation ceremonies, dancing shamans, pregnant horses, nubile naked women -- and even an art-historical development of imagery. Leroi-Gourhan, despite his own warning, does the same by assigning symbolic meaning to the images, expounding a "dualistic concept of the universe, governed by two complementary principles, male and female," as paraphrased by Denis Vialou in Prehistoric Art and Civilization (1996).
The folklorish elements can be readily dismissed and, in fact, Leroi-Gourhan has mostly done so in his book. Countering Leroi-Gourhan's thesis of a universal duality, however, will take some additional consideration.
To begin with, these people were not "big-game" hunters, despite the fact that the animals depicted in the caves consist almost exclusively of large herbivores -- aurochs, mammoths, rhinoceroses, horses. (There are also a few bears and lions.) And in addition to the herd animals, fish (salmon) and birds are also to be found. Plants are never depicted. From the evidence of bones at campsites, however, the diet of these hunters consisted almost entirely of deer -- red deer, reindeer, elk, and ibex -- which would have been a lot easier to hunt than the giant aurochs or mammoth. And who would want to go up against a bear or a lion for a meal?
The idea of "hunting magic" can thus be disposed of immediately. This, despite the fact that a number of the animals are shown with spear wounds. Leroi-Gourhan notes that these represent 15 percent of the images. If the images were meant as magic to aid hunting, we should probably expect a much higher percentage of animals being attacked.
The idea of "initiation ceremonies" was derived from one set of small heel prints, supposedly of children, in one alcove in one cave. This is the sort of single data point through which any number of lines could be graphed. It begged to be equated with initiation rites of contemporary primitives by anthropologists.
Human forms are counted in the hundreds, whereas the herds of animals count in the thousands. The humans include "dancing shamans" and naked headless women (but depicted only by a few curved strokes). They are interspersed with the animal sketches. As a generalization, it could be said that when the figures are male, most, but not all, have the heads of animals. If they are female, they are headless and shown only as a trunk with hips, thighs, legs, and breasts, drawn in a few cursory strokes. The human bodies are badly articulated. They show none of the elegance of the drawings and engravings of the animals."At most one or two faces could pass as realistic; the profiles or the full face heads with animal features are even less realistic."
"The outlines [of human figures] are equally improbable and resemble puppets or simple ghostlike silhouettes. The bodies generally lack anatomical shapes, the limbs are poorly joined or out of proportion."
-- Denis Vialou
The naked (female) human figures, coupled with occasional pregnant horses or bison, would, from our modern perspective, suggest the fecundity of nature, but I really doubt if the Cro-Magnon cave painters had anything like this in mind, and certainly not as a universal concept or a symbol, for there are no copulation scenes and no calving scenes.
To art historians, the drawings initially suggested a progression from primitive depictions to more developed forms. This last concept was shattered with the discovery of Chauvet Cave in 1994. The cave has without a doubt images of the highest "aesthetic quality, [and] technique" (Vialou), yet it is the oldest decorated cave, dated to 31,000 years ago.
To Leroi-Gourhan there is a very slow progression in the depictions, suggesting a continuity of mythical concepts. He observed that over the course of 20,000 years the Cro-Magnon never "reinvented" (his words) the symbols for their rituals, but only evolved them (this is astounding)."The first thesis that we shall defend here is that the evolution of European Paleolithic art is homogeneous and continuous and that it implies a cultural continuity and homogeneity of the human groups that produced it."
I would agree. On the other hand, there is a progressive development of tool fabrication and other innovations, including many instances of regional "fashions" which often spread elsewhere, and which only stops after 10,000 years ago (8000 BC) -- seemingly evaporating and disappearing, as others have noted. What doesn't change is the understanding of what the depicted herd animals represent. [note 3]
To Leroi-Gourhan the cave depictions become evidence for a single mythology and a single symbolic expression. And it is here that I disagree. The very fact that the methods of depiction and the compositional model remain the same over an absolutely astoundingly long period of time -- although there are some regional differences -- is what makes Leroi-Gourhan's thesis fail. As I will develop in later chapters, these people simply were not like us in their thinking. We cannot attribute to Cro-Magnon a level of abstraction comparable to modern humans, whose abstract thinking spins wildly, changing constantly to evolve to something completely different in the course of a single lifetime or even in a single day. If there is an error in attempting to understand the 20,000 years of cave art, it is in attributing to Cro-Magnon the ability to think abstractly.
Thus I disagree with giving these people credit for "universal concepts" or for a developed mythological system and an attendant symbolism. Over the following chapters I will argue, based on the work of Julian Jaynes, that our ancestors were incapable of extending their imagination to abstract metaphorical thinking until after 1500 or 1000 BC. The Sumerian, Akkadian, and Egyptian languages were "concrete from first to last," says Jaynes. So was their thinking, in that thinking is embedded in language. Only after about 1500 or 1000 BC do we see a more extensive use of similes, and with that the rise of the symbolic use of language through the use of metaphors. [note 4]
The possibility of a people without the imagination (subjective consciousness) to conceive of symbolic equivalents or formulate a mythology to explain their existence -- as Leroi-Gourhan holds -- will be hard for many readers to comprehend, for all of our reasoning is by metaphors and we simply cannot imagine any other way of thinking. Symbols for us are the shorthand of abstract thought. [note 5]
It would be reasonable to suggest that the Cro-Magnon humans couldn't conceive of any abstractions; they were capable of comprehending only specifics. They could certainly be expected to be resourceful, inventive, curious, creative, friendly, chatty, capable of extensive dialogues on relationships, plants, animals, and geography, but otherwise of a mind totally defined by the visible environment. And, to our benefit, they had a singular urge and need to paint caves at long intervals, which they did for a span of 20,000 years without once reconsidering what they were doing. The cave painting stops only when the climate changes in Southwestern Europe to that of a near desert after about 8000 BC, and Cro-Magnon migrates away from the limestone caves.
If the drawings in the caves cannot to be understood as symbols, then they need to be seen as transcriptions from the specifics of reality. But what were these people seeing that needed to be recorded? And why did this need to be recorded at all? Before attempting to answer these two questions, I need to supply a few more details about the caves and the drawings.
There are, in all, about 300 decorated caves in France and Spain (with a few elsewhere), mostly located in regions which are filled with limestone caves. The dates span almost the whole of the time since the first arrival of Cro-Magnon in Western Europe (40,000 to 35,000 ya), starting in about 31,000 ya and ending a little more than 10,000 ya (thus about 8000 BC). The selection of new caves to decorate happened regularly, with some clustering at the Gravettian culture (28,000 to 23,000 ya) and at the Magdalenian culture (17,000 to 14,000 ya), which last includes Altamira and Lascaux.
... cave art details
Thus, on average, a new cave is selected for decoration every hundred years, or a little less frequently, and then it is left behind. At least, this is true for the earlier caves. For a few caves we have accurate dates for when they were revisited. Chauvet Cave (dated 31,000 ya) was reentered four thousand years later. Cosquer Cave (dated 27,000 ya) was revisited to draw animal figures eight thousand five hundred years after it was first marked up with lines and finger scrawls. On the other hand, some 100 "lost" oil lamps have been found at the relatively late Lascaux Cave (dated 17,500 ya), suggesting repeated visits to the cave by large groups of people. Cave art was never erased or vandalized. [note 6]
The same form of depiction is used for the animals for 20,000 years. They are shown as herds. There is a cave of elephants. There is a cave of reindeer. Elsewhere it is a mix of animals, but always they are on the march. Even bears and panthers are shown following each other in lines. They are seldom in groups larger than a dozen in any particular location in a cave, even though the drawings and engravings may cover every available surface. Drawings are often separated by species. The animals move in both directions, often overdrawn on each other. Animals of different species are indiscriminately mixed and all the figures vary in sizes, as if to suggest a receding perspective for some animals, although this is reversed for superimposed images (small drawings in front of larger ones). All the animals are shown in profile."Palaeolithic cave art, the art of the big-game hunter, depicts neither hunting, the hunter, nor the hunted animal. The protagonists are close, and touch, but they do not see each other. Animals and humans completely ignore each other on the walls, as if they were floating in space, in a purely imaginary universe."
-- Denis Vialou
"Floating in space" is an apt description, for none of the drawings are grounded. The animals look like cutouts pasted to cave walls."They appear to be suspended in midair with no base line depicted, outside any context -- no landscape, no housing, no scenes involving people and animals."
-- Jean Clottes and Jean Courtin (1996) [note 7]
Others have additionally noted that many of the animals have their hooves turned back, if hooves are shown, so that the animals certainly are not standing. They appear to be lying down or dead.
In addition to the figures, there are symbols, something which is entirely absent from rock face carvings and depictions of animals in rock shelters throughout the same region and throughout the same period of time. The symbols are of four types:
- Hut-like signs which were earlier thought to represent housing, called "tectiforms." About 50 have been found, generally using the same form for a particular cave. (See image below.)
[Image: Left, hut-like signs: Font-de-Gaume Cave; right, rectangles: Altamira Cave.]
- Single chevrons (inverted V) shown on the flanks or shoulders of animals, at times with a long central line, making it look like a spear thrust into the animal.
- Dots and bars, in groups or in a line, almost always associated with animal images. These appear by the hundreds.
[Image: Geometrical claviform markings, Spain and Southern France.]
- Strange lines with loops, described as "claviforms" -- shaped like the letter "P" -- consisting of a vertical line with a circle touching it near the top or a second line which angles up from near the bottom and loops across the straight line. About 50 have been found, in widely separated regions in six caves.
Archaeologists have interpreted the claviforms as "boomerangs, clubs, axes, stylized female figures, rods with attachments" -- with some suggesting these forms to be part of a system of enumeration, for they are also found near sets of dots and at times repeated across animals.
[Image: Left: Bison with claviforms, dots, and a chevron marking; Pindal, Spain. Right: Horse with 14 claviform signs, Trois-Fréres, France.]
Enumeration seems to me to have the most value, but to prove, for example that the claviform symbol stood for a larger number representing some count of single dots, would require a detailed look at the marking of hundreds of caves. If one counts on fingers, phalanges, or knuckles, the larger accumulated number would be represented by a single hand (or two). This might be 5, 10, 12, 16, 20, 32, and larger sums -- all forms which seem to have been used in antiquity, which suggests that this is likely true also for remote antiquity (see endnotes of Appendix A for some details). The Basque, a people indigenous to the region of northern Spain where many caves are found, have an old system of cyphers for enumeration (used by millers), which uses the line with a loop claviform sign to represent 20.
Except for Leroi-Gourhan's questionable thesis of the symbolic depiction of the male-female dichotomy of the Universe -- a Cro-Magnon Universe limited to people and game animals -- there is no other current explanation of the painted animals or the markings. Descriptions tend to be augmented with formalist analysis in the vein of art criticism and appeals to vague desires used to explain the urge to create graffiti today.
Denis Vialou writes, about the depictions of humans: "... there seems to be a deliberate desire to move away from ... visual objectivity." About the early scribed finger marks of Cosquer Cave, Clottes and Courtin write: "the intention ... can only have been the appropriation of underground space," and about hand marks: "The hand expresses personality, the presence of an individual. ... these hand stencils are no doubt filled with the deepest significance." The objection to any such readings is, first of all that this is nonsense, and secondly that "individuality" is a very late philosophical concept, entering common thinking only in the last few hundred years.
... signs in the sky
It is apparent that no one knows what to make of all this. And indeed it is a giant puzzle. How and why did these people persist for 20,000 years in the same process of cave depictions at intervals separated on average by a hundred years?
What I will suggest here is that the Cro-Magnon people were recording the display of an infrequent and absolutely astounding celestial event. As an approximation of how frequently these events happened, we could divide the time span of 31,000 ya to 11,000 ya (20,000 years) by the number of caves (about 300), and suggest that at the most these events happened every 66 years. But in the whole of the area where the caves are found -- from the Rhineland to Southern Spain -- there are perhaps four (or more) geographically isolated regions. This suggests that perhaps four or more separate "ceremonial centers" might have existed at any one time, and possibly the event was only celebrated once every 100 years or more at each center. Additional caves continue to be found every year, however. [note 8]
Today we would not consider an extensive journey by foot across half of Europe -- complete with families, baskets, nets, and kitchen tools -- as a particularly desirable undertaking, even if this were only done once every other lifetime. We would prefer to have a local "ceremonial center." On the other hand, it might be fun. And in the Upper Paleolithic, as in all of antiquity, distance was never an obstacle. So it is possible that people from a large area traveled to and congregated in one place. Food was also not likely to be a problem. Considering that today the Kung of the Kalahari desert spend only 12 hours a week foraging for their families, there is good reason to believe that large crowds could be supported with locally gathered food in some single region of France.
How these people organized their cave decoration efforts, and how frequently this happened, has to be complete speculation. We know almost nothing of their movements or social interactions. We know more of the Neanderthals. Cro-Magnon occupied Western Europe for 30,000 years without having their numbers diminished or being displaced by other peoples. From the archaeological records of rock shelters in Southern France, which were occupied for brief periods or only seasonally, we can be certain that people indeed moved around quite a bit. As nomads they would have had an awareness of large geographical areas, and we can be reasonably sure that there was active communications between tribes and families. Trade items (stones and shells) which traveled vast distances also document the existence of interactions between separate tribes. [note 9]
What we know for certain is that new caves were decorated every few lifetimes or so. We also know that there was a continuity of the formal aspects of the images, and that many of the graphic signs moved from cave to cave. This points to a cultural continuity between family members across a generation or two. It also starts to suggest that it was the activity of decorating a cave which was the most important thing, rather than the display of images or the ownership of a decorated cave. In this respect, the cave-decorating activity would be little different from what we see of the constant construction and reconstruction of ceremonial centers in Western Europe at a much later date -- the barrows and henges. None of the cave artwork was ever destroyed. Cosquer Cave, entered 8500 years after it was first marked up with finger lines, was considered a prime location, for there were no animals depicted as yet, and was filled with animal images in about 18,500 ya.
At this point we have to consider some sources for the images, assuming as always, that the humans were imitating something they saw, and casting it in terms familiar to them from their own environment. I'll suggest three possibilities, based on what might have been seen in the skies during the Upper Paleolithic.
- The sight of Jupiter in the day skies when seen as an inner planet (between the Earth and the Sun). Jupiter would display a slim crescent, produced by the light of the Sun on Jupiter's Sun-side portion.
- The sight of Saturn in the skies -- seen as a combination of three or more planets stacked up above each other, and the whole enclosed in a coma shaped to the globes and to their equatorial toroids.
- The sight of an assembly of comets traveling into the inner reaches of the Solar System and crossing Earth's orbit, wildly lighted by their individual comas and the plasma connections between them.
Of these three, the first seems least likely. I cannot really identify a crescent on Jupiter among the cave images. It is possible to suggest that the images of giant aurochs, with their enormous sets of horns, might represent Jupiter's crescent, but aurochs only appear in some locations. And aurochs' horns do not form a crescent. The various menageries seen in individual caves reflect the wildly divergent climatic conditions of Europe over the course of 20,000 years. During Cro-Magnon's occupation of Western Europe, the fauna changed with climatic conditions for periods of 500 years to as long as 4000 years.
The second, the image of Saturn in the skies as the body of a woman, is also unlikely as a cave image, although this image appears outside of the caves as sculptures. The Venus Figurines of the Gravettian (28,000 to 23,000 years ago) -- bulbous, fat, and very female -- and again in the Magdalenian (17,000 to 14,000 years ago) -- skinny, malformed, but still female -- attest to the fact that Saturn was seen, but this image does not appear among the cave paintings. There are, however, numerous figures of naked, headless (and disarticulated) human females scratched into the cave walls, notably without coloration or shading (except for occasional cross-hatching). It would seem that Saturn was thus recognized among the cave art, but was not rendered realistically.
The crudeness of the rendering of the "female forms" is a particular ineptitude which extends far into the future. This extends to figures of males also. As these people were not subjectively conscious, they never formed concepts of themselves in their minds. The same strange disarticulation of limbs and body parts is seen in all the two-dimensional renditions of humans of remote antiquity in the Near East. [note 10]
Our modern day "image" of ourselves is based on a mirror-like concept of how we think others see us (Jaynes). We conceive of other humans in a like manner. Surprisingly, this does not seem to apply to three-dimensional representations, either in the European Gravettian or much later in Sumer or Egypt. The failure to make changes in the cave-art depictions -- over a period of 20,000 years -- is an additional sign of the lack of subjective consciousness. As Leroi-Gourhan suggested, the cave drawings were never reinvented.
At least, that was the opinion I held until 2011 when I again plotted a survey of dates for the caves against a graph (in this case) of the "Fractional global radio-carbon since 50,000 bp" which I have used earlier in this text to validate that there were no Venus Figurines made during the Solutrean period (24,000 ya to circa 17,000 ya) -- suggesting that Saturn was not seen near Earth, or possibly that Saturn did not interact with Earth for 7,000 years. That turned out to be so, and was soon validated from other sources.
Information on the decorated caves of France and Spain has advanced considerably since I first started researching nearly a decade ago. Peter Peregrine and Melvin Ember in Encyclopedia of prehistory, Volume 4 (2001), mention the following about the Solutrean period:"No examples of cave art can be definitely attributed to the Solutrean period, but there are several cave art sanctuaries whose only associated cultural deposits are of that age. They include such important sites as Chufin, La Haza, and possibly La Pasiega in Cantabria, El Buxú and Peña Candamo in Asturias. Many other cave art sites have Solutrean as well as Magdalenian occupation levels."
By "occupation levels" Peregrine and Ember mean the slight evidence of lost artifacts and carbon remains of fires and torches. Except for the mouths, the caves were not used for living quarters.
Because there is an 8,000- to 10,000-year gap (from 27,000 or 24,000 ya to 17,000 years ago) in the carving of the figurines, it would seem that Saturn remained unseen for an extended period. There is a gap in the cave drawings also, as I have indicated above. We would have to conclude that there was a relationship between sightings of Saturn and the herds depicted in the caves. But it is time to ask, why the herds of animals?
I presume that the animals are, very simply, the display of a concentrated group of asteroids in plasma discharge -- that is, comets. It must have been absolutely spectacular, an event only sporadically repeated, and thus always unexpected. Most likely this would be a large number of objects pulled out of the asteroid belt, which Saturn had passed through many times, and perhaps recently. Jupiter, in its later single passage through the asteroid belt managed to acquire 1800 or so followers which remain today, divided up into two groups each one third of an orbit removed from Jupiter, called the Trojans and Greeks. Neptune has a few of these. Mars today still has a half dozen Trojans. Saturn, in its many passes through the asteroid belt, might have had many followers whenever it appeared in the inner Solar System.
To the Cro-Magnon the question must have occurred, What are these? There were only a few answers available from among their environment of mountains, rocks, rivers, plants, animals, and other humans, and only the concept of animal herds would answer to all the details of what was seen. The objects moved across the night sky in unison like a herd of horses, bison, or deer, they were of diverse sizes and shapes, some had horns, others did not, some had tails -- and some were obviously in front of others.
Comparing the record of the frequency of comets seen today against the frequency during, for example, Roman times, shows that comets have appeared less and less frequently during the last two thousand years. Rome recorded 50 comets per year. Today we seldom see a comet. If the display of animals in the sky was only infrequent then there might have been hundreds of thousands to be seen 30,000 years ago.
I am not proposing that the skies were filled with comets on a daily basis. Because anything seen all the time would not have been noted as spectacular and would thus not have required commemoration. What I am suggesting is an occasional overwhelming display -- like repeating "meteor showers" which we still have today. The "meteor showers" seen today are microscopic dust from prior disintegration of comets (meteors) which only shows when the dust electrically brightens on entering the Earth's ionosphere.
Some of the "swarms" of meteor dust, which the Earth passes through currently, only become spectacular at long intervals. The Leonids, for example, is a cloud of meteor dust which the Earth passes through between November 13 and November 21 each year. In most years, the display amounts to only a few streaks in the sky every couple of minutes. In AD 1833 there was a spectacular display of 100,000 to 200,000 per hour -- at that time it was the largest meteor shower seen in modern times. This repeated 33 years later in AD 1866-1867 but was not seen in AD 1899-1900. The spectacular display of the Leonids otherwise repeat every 33 years, returning again in AD 1933, 1966, and in 1999. The dust and particles travel with comet Temple-Tuttle -- which enters the near reaches of the Sun every 33 years. There are a dozen well-known meteor showers.
The meteor showers, today, are the last remnants of larger, earlier swarms of asteroids traveling on elliptical paths which crossed the Earth's orbit. Today the "showers" are created by the dust entering the Earth's upper atmosphere. In the past, the plasma discharges (lightning) among large concentrations of asteroids would have been spectacular. Moving across the sky, but stationary with respect to each other, the only analog for Cro-Magnon would have been a herd of animals seen from afar. This is why the species depicted in the caves change over time and by location. The cave drawings were not made to depict species which could be hunted (and were not), but to depict the slow passage of immense herds of celestial animals. All were shown in profile because they were on the move -- or dead.
The drawings are totally modern by our standards, with a sophisticated feeling for outline and shading -- unequaled again for thousands of years. At the age of ten, Picasso crawled into one of the caves in the company of his father, a painter, and the Abbe Breuil. It changed modern art.
Cro-Magnon applied all of their science, which wasn't much, to the depictions. Probably their most advanced intellectual accomplishment, aside from their social skills, their lithic industry, and their knowledge of the environment, was an ability to count. The many dots and bars, found adjacent to and on the animals, likely represent just that. The claviform marks could be added to the counts also.
Five thousand years after the last cave was painted, the Egyptians of the first dynasty, 3050 to 2850 BC, do the same: they count the small and large cattle of the God Horus (Mars), and record the counts, which in one year added up to 400,000 large and 1,200,000 small animals, plus 120,000 "captives" -- figures far in excess of anything that either warfare or the economy of Egypt could have supported if these reflected earthly animals and people. Mars, before assuming an orbit among the inner planets, traveled into the asteroid belt also.
The cattle of Mars are noted again in the 8th century BC, when Mars again cruises close enough to Earth to be clearly seen and delivers devastating electric arcs to regions of Earth. In India the cattle are held to be the six warrior companions of Indra (Mars), called Maruts, the "terrible ones." The Bible calls them the "heavenly hosts of the Lord" (Joel and Isaiah). They thus were seen for 2600 years. Much of this might have been dust and rocks. Late in the 20th century AD, telescopic studies revealed six large objects still following Mars in its orbit.
When asteroids interacted with each other, it would have been with lightning bolts. Comet Biela in 1846 sent a lance of light at right angles to its path to a companion comet, across 155,000 miles (250,000 km). In 1852 a brief bridge of light connected the heads of the same two comets over a distance of over a million miles -- four times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Cro-Magnon recognized the streams of plasma from one comet to another as a spear thrown to wound some of the animals. But since animals do not throw spears, he invented celestial humans, often with the heads of animals, as the agents. Wounded animals are shown with chevrons, some are shown with embedded spears.
Still we have only a slight idea why the herds of animals needed to be recorded. It is possible the close passage of streams of blazing asteroids (comets) would have been accompanied by meteor impacts, detonations like the AD 1918 Tunguska event, or fire falling from heaven (with dust from the decay of the comets which might have entered the Earth's atmosphere). It is difficult, however, to see the cave painting activity as some means of warding off evil -- that is, as magic. A belief in the efficacy of such preventive activities is a very late cultural development, clearly dating to after 1200 BC. It would be simpler to suggest that the animals were painted simply because they were seen, and were not seen very frequently. [note 11]
None of the caves were occupation sites; apparently the Cro-Magnon painters did not even bring a bag lunch. But the images in the caves, when seen by others, lighted by fires, oil lamps, or torches, would have recalled the night sky during the few months, years earlier, when large "herds of animals" roamed the skies.
At this point I have drifted the speculation as far from the data as Breuil did earlier in the 20th century, but I have gone in a different direction, assuming that these people were not at all like us and cannot be compared to contemporary "primitives" like the Eskimo, Bushman, or Australian Aborigines.
Additional speculation might indicate that we see in this imagery the first suggestion of the sky as a place -- among the stars -- for the after-life for dead animals, which over the course of 30,000 years will extend to humans. After 10,900 BC, a new way of securing life after death will be demonstrated by new images in the skies. The forms will change again after 4077 BC, and again after 3147 BC. Although the Egyptians will democratize the concept of living forever in the sky, it never catches on among the Greeks and Romans until the advent of the salvation religions. In the Odyssey, Hades is described as a place of the miserable walking dead.
If fear did not motivate the Cro-Magnon, if appeasement of celestial herds was not an issue, then what drove these people to repeatedly create the cave artwork? Except as speculated above, I have absolutely no idea. But the pride and sheer joy of making images, which we also see in the spear throwers decorated with carved animal figures, is an appealing concept.
For "public art," as opposed to portable objects, pride in the creations would sooner or later require that the work be identified with the creators. A suggestion, made by the researchers of the early 20th century, but which has since fallen into disfavor, is that the "tectiforms" symbols found in some of the caves represent housing -- and thus the signs would have the value of a signature particular to a clan or family. These appear late, in the Magdalenian after 18,000 ya, at Altamira and other locations. It is a suggestion which might again be entertained. [note 12]
The Sky at Catal Hoyuk
Catal Hoyuk is a village in Central Anatolia, which was partially excavated in the 1960s by James Mellaart. It is currently (since 1993) being excavated again. The occupation dates are from 7500 to 5700 BC (2015 data), after which it was abandoned, for what reason we do not know (although the abandonment coincides with a severe drought in the Middle East). The village lasted for over a thousand years. What is unique about Catal Hoyuk is the decoration of houses with sculptures and murals, many of which have been reconstructed. Today Catal Hoyuk is recognized as one of the primary archaeological sites in the world representing the early Neolithic. [note 13]
[Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7400 to 6200 BC. This artist's rendition represents the excavation of a few percent of the mound by Mellaart. Not shown is the mound of dirt behind this set of houses. After Mellaart.]
Catal Hoyuk is of interest to the Saturnian Cosmology thesis because of the date range of its existence, 7500 to 5700 BC. During this period Sunlight was no longer blocked by dust in the stratosphere, but a coma surrounding and below Saturn might have obscured the stars. The Sun would probably have been seen. The imagery of Catal Hoyuk could thus be expected to reflect what was seen in the skies as the Earth had moved below the center of Saturn, and below the level of the Sun.
What had also happened since 10,900 BC, was the generation of three brilliant ball plasmoids in the far south, which rotated into view on a daily basis. From the ball plasmoids lines of blazing electrons streamed through the sky past Earth and toward the north, surrounding the Earth. Only three or four were visible anywhere on Earth in the overhead skies. Details were presented in the previous chapter. As could be expected, the streamers show up among the wall decorations at Catal Hoyuk.
I should also again introduce the notion of the Absu, which I mentioned in a previous chapter. There I suggested that the Earth would most likely have had rings of material above its equator, much like all the outer planets, and which probably looked like the rings of Saturn. Later (much later) testimony supports this, and it is especially noted when, in 2349 BC, the rings disappeared, dispersing or falling -- an event which was universally held to be a flood of the celestial "ocean," and known as the "flood of Noah." "Absu" is the Mesopotamian word for the rings; it translates as Abyss -- the Deep.
People living in the northern hemisphere would have seen the rings in the southern skies at night. Egyptians describe the rings, which they called the "Duat," as composed of spoked rings, looking like reeds growing in a swamp. At the latitude of Egypt, Mesopotamia, or Anatolia, the rings would have stood some 40 or 50 degrees up in the sky, below the semicircle which defines the equatorial, reaching in an arc from directly east to directly west, and standing up from the south at an angle determined by the latitude. The rings would all meet at the east and west cardinal points of the horizon (bunching together). At night the Absu was brilliant and clearly seen because the rings would have been lighted directly by the Sun (from the daytime side of Earth), except where the shadow of the Earth fell on the Absu, which created an arch or gap which traveled nightly from the east to the west horizon. Only a few bright stars shone through the rings or the shadow area.. [note 14]
During the daytime the Absu would have disappeared from view for the Sun would light it from behind and the rings would have merged with the daytime sky, just as the shadowed portion of the Moon disappears today during daytime. During part of the year when the Sun dipped low in the winter, it too would have been obscured by the rings. No rings were ever seen in the northern skies.
The description I have offered above can be verified from Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Maya sources, and can even be suggested from the mound construction of some North American Indians. (See a later chapter for more details and size estimates for the rings.) Because they were always there the rings were never specifically noted. They were a landscape feature, like mountains and rivers, but always moving, at different speeds, with some rings moving backwards. The humans, as a result, thought of themselves as living in a valley bordered by a sea in the south. Since the rings were a constant feature of Earth, from remotest times to 2349 BC, an understanding of what else was seen in the skies in antiquity cannot be divorced from the sight of the rings. At Catal Hoyuk, in a region well away from an ocean, the rings appeared to have represented a wall of bricks instead of water.
At the time of Catal Hoyuk, three sights would have appeared in the skies above. The first of these would be the Saturnian planets, rotating from east to west on a daily basis in a large circle between the equatorial and the North Pole and progressively moving further north in the skies. This would already have been in progress by 10,900 BC, three thousand years before Catal Hoyuk.
The second would be the streams of electrons connecting the southern ball plasmoids and Saturn. This would have happened three times for a period of 2500 years, between 10,900 BC and 8347 BC. The occupation of Catal Hoyuk dates from 7500 BC to 5700 BC -- thus 1000 years after this period.
The third would be the crescent of Jupiter during the day, still close by the orbit of Earth, but viewed from below since the Earth was positioned below Saturn.
Each of these seem to be presented in the murals and sculptures of Catal Hoyuk, although some of the imagery might be very old iconography, dating to one or two thousand years before the founding of Catal Hoyuk, but kept alive through tradition.[Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7500 to 5700 BC. City plan mural. After Mellaart]
One hint at a remembered past is what appears to be an image (a mural) of a plan view of a village with two volcanoes in the background. This is suggested to actually be a view of the twin peaks of the currently inactive volcano of Hasan Dag seen from the proximity of the village of Asikli Hoyuk, some 100 miles (160 km) away. Asikli Hoyuk was abandoned a thousand years before the founding of Catal Hoyuk, although the two volcanoes were, of course, still in existence.
... the vultures
Catal Hoyuk also had a fascination with vultures, shown in murals as giant birds, rendered in red, biting after headless corpses. Some vultures are depicted with human feet, which is actually a close approximation of vulture feet. There are wall sculptures of breasts which include vulture beaks breaking out to form the nipples. This is an obscure iconography.
Where did this imagery come from? I don't rightly know. Giant bird imagery occurs elsewhere in the world, but especially in remote antiquity. One suggestion would be that perhaps this represents what was seen of Saturn and its companion planets during the period when Earth's orbit was slowly falling further below Saturn, and Saturn was thus describing a daily flight from the east to the west, eventually to settle into a smaller circle of rotation in the sky around the North Pole.
[Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7500 to 5700 BC. Vultures depicted reaching for headless human bodies.
The originals are drawn in red. After Mellaart.]
Thus a likely suggestion is that the bird imagery directly represents Saturn which during this period would traverse the sky from east to west (actually the result of the Earth's rotation). Certainly the beak-like profile of the planet Uranus would suggest a bird-like image. Thus the image of Saturn as a giant bird would not be unexpected, although elsewhere (but not always) the bird is represented as seated rather than with spread wings.
This bird form, as a vulture, eagle, or hawk, is a religious icon which retains significance throughout the world, far into the future. Although it has been noted by others that the source for this might be Saturn with its rings after 4077 BC, I would suggest that the bird image showed up much earlier, and the coma surrounding the stack of planets covered the rings.
In Egypt the name-serekhs of the pharaohs are surmounted with a seated hawk from the time of the first dynasties. Hierakonpolis (Nekhen) in Egypt, an early religious center, is known as the City of the Falcon. Although equated with Horus in Egypt, which we think of as Mars, it is likely that the hawk originally represented an image of Saturn seen in the skies in its slow transition to a position near the North Pole of Earth. That means that every day for 5000 years (from about 9,000 BC to 4077 BC) it would have been seen moving through the skies from east to west -- as a shadow during the day or as a lighted object at night. [note 15]
The vulture's beak represents the planet Uranus. The notion of this image being a bird or bird-masked person dated back to the previous generation of Venus Figurines which show figurines with an extended neck and the beak of a bird (and also with wings, as Gimbutas noted for the period of 7000 to 3500 BC). Even well over two thousand years later, after the "figure" in the sky had disappeared, carved and molded figurines throughout the world continue to be depicted with beaks and bird masks.
Likewise the fact that the vulture frequently is shown with human legs and feet recalls the legs of the Venus Figurines, although these were never depicted with feet. The two lozenge-shaped emblems on the breast and belly of the vultures at Catal Hoyuk might depict the planets Saturn and Neptune stacked above each other, glimmering through the surrounding coma. [note 16]
I cannot place the headless corpses at which the vultures of the murals are snapping, except to the worldwide notion that corpses, just like dead animals, moved south along the electron beams. This had been seen worldwide since 10,900 BC.
The other element in the sky which demanded representation was the three plasmoids in the far south skies. These would not have been clearly seen, for they would have been obscured by the equatorial rings. The "teddy bears" found as wall decorations might qualify for these. [note 17]
There are clear reference to the lines of electrons which spanned the sky from north to south. In two clear instances is some sort of vertical graphic depicted, although there are a number of other similar depictions.
I have suggested, in fact, that the lines of streaming electrons (which would have connected the plasmoid in the south with Saturn in the north) only appeared three times over a span of 2500 years. If the image does indeed represent the electron lines then the "bricks" shown could represent the Absu. The design nearly repeats an illustration by Anthony Peratt in "Characteristics for the Occurrence of a High-Current, Z-Pinch Aurora as recorded in Antiquity," (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Transactions on Plasma Science, 2003), which he identifies as a "pinch instability characteristic." Peratt shows this depicted as a petroglyph on page 1200 of the Journal. Peratt and his analysis of petroglyphs was discussed in a previous chapter. [note 18]
It could likewise be suggested that the curious crosses and hooks shown attached to the sides of the three wavy columns are heteromacs, traveling individual fractal dendritic (electric) structures, identified in the Chilam Balam as the sweepers of the roadways, as apparently likewise in Neolithic England.
The overwhelming display at Catal Hoyuk (as found by Mellaart, and since by the current excavators), however, is the profusion of six to ten foot wide spans of aurochs horns mounted horizontally on walls and also facing up on "altars."[Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7500 to 5700 BC. Wall-mounted aurochs horns. After Mellaart.]
Although it might be suggested that the crescent shape might represent the lighted crescent rotating on the edge of Saturn, which certainly was the case at a later date, I am more inclined to suggest that the lighting of the edge of Saturn had to await the clearing of the skies surrounding Saturn in 4077 BC -- the chaos in which Saturn was enveloped, a plasma in glow mode.
I would thus suggest that Jupiter was the source for the horns and bucrania (horns attached to skull tops) used for these wall sculptures. As stated in the last chapter, Earth, traveling on an elliptical orbit (with Saturn), would alternately be located inside and outside the orbit of Jupiter. The orbit of earth would frequently be outside and below the orbit of Jupiter, which would have been seen as a gigantic crescent moving through the skies, in effect looking like the horns of an aurochs. [note 19]
A crescent would be seen because Earth at this time was at a location below the orbit of Saturn, and thus below the ecliptic on which Saturn and Jupiter traveled. Only the bottom of the area of Jupiter facing the Sun would be seen, looking like two upturned cattle horns. Like the crescent Moon, the remainder of the globe of Jupiter would not have been seen during the day. If the crescent on Jupiter had been a regular phenomenon, it would not have been considered significant enough to be reproduced in sculptures and murals. Since there is no reason to think that the orbit of Earth (and Saturn) and Jupiter had fallen into a harmonic relationship, the appearances of the horns might very well have been unpredictable. Jupiter might have been entirely absent for years. This is of course precisely the condition under which humans would make the image into a god. The unpredictable behavior presumed that the object in the skies was alive.[Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7500 to 5700 BC. Wall-mounted aurochs horns and freestanding "horns of consecration." (Mislabeled as "horns of concentration".) After Mellaart.]
The bucrania are not associated with either the vultures (described above) or the figurines (described below), neither here in Anatolia nor anywhere else. Elsewhere, and later, bucrania appear as symbols associated with tombs, as in predynastic mastaba tombs in Egypt (circa 3000 BC), where aurochs horns are, in one instance, placed on the enclosing wall, and elsewhere, as for example, in Sardinia 4000 - 3000 BC, where horns are used to decorate the outsides of rock tombs. Their association with altars is seen in Roman times. The horns were a contemporary image in the sky during the time of Catal Hoyuk, and continued to be seen traveling across the day skies up to 3147 BC.
... hunting deer
There is a fourth mural, depicting the hunting of deer. The iconography of deer herds is out of place, for there were few deer in the vicinity of Catal Hoyuk, and their bones seldom appear in the rubbish heaps. There are more horse bones than deer bones, but horses never appeared in a mural.
It is doubtful that the mural shows humans hunting deer. It is more likely to represent a translation from something seen in the sky as a celestial apparition. The fact that deer are shown might be totally coincidental if the image reflects conditions which had first appeared and been "represented" perhaps thousands of years earlier. At an earlier time, herds of deer might have been the logical simile for large objects traversing the sky periodically or sporadically, not unlike the herds recorded in the caves of Spain and France a few thousand years earlier. Certainly anything seen as animated in the skies would be understood as an extension of what was normally experienced on Earth.[Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7500 to 5700 BC. Mural showing the hunting of deer. After Mellaart.]
I have suggested earlier that these were most likely asteroids in plasma discharge -- in effect a display of comets bunched together in a group traveling with Saturn into the region of the inner planets. Thus the depiction of hunted deer may be an icon from a long ago time when celestial hunters shot celestial lightning bolt arrows at herds of celestial deer. [note 20]
We can be reasonably certain that asteroids were still periodically traversing the Earth's night skies at the time of Catal Hoyuk. Imagery like this, large herds, is shown also on Egyptian predynastic artifacts (knife handles and palettes) and, during the first and second dynasty, the herds were counted and recorded. The deer-hunting scene would make sense as the "appropriate" image for depicting this.
Today hundreds of animal, male, and female hand-held sized statues have been found at Catal Hoyuk, most often retrieved from garbage heaps. Because of the strange distortions, many are simply called "humanoid." The distortions are probably the result of seeing Saturn from a changing perspective, or guessing at the earlier shapes of the ball plasmoids seen through the obscuring Absu. In the period during which Catal Hoyuk was occupied, Mars (below Saturn) would have became indistinct within the larger coma of Saturn seen from below. As a result, the figurines became seated rather than standing. The head of a baby being delivered by a few of the figurines is probably Mars seen against the larger coma representing the lower body of the figure seen in the skies. [note 21][Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7500 to 5700 BC, seated figurine. After Mellaart.]
What is of interest about Catal Hoyuk is that after the period of circa 6700 BC, no male figurines are made. James Mellaart, in his 1967 book Catal Hoyuk, mentions a corresponding change in the interior wall decorations, noting, for example that the vultures appear only in the archaeological levels VIII and VII, thus before 6700 BC.
Bleda Düring, of Leiden University, has addressed the transition from the Early Ceramic Neolithic period to the Late Ceramic Neolithic period at Catal Hoyuk, identified as level VIA, which falls in the era of 6700 BC to 6600 BC. This time saw changes in house building and city planning and, as Düring writes, "changes in the ceramics, obsidian industries, figurines and wall paintings." What she writes about the figurines is interesting:"After Level VI no males are portrayed in the figurines, whereas "large" women occur mainly after this level."
Murals and wall paintings change also."... the famous "hunting scene" wall paintings of Catal Hoyuk all date after Level VI [references deleted]. Some older motifs might have been abandoned during the transition; no figurative mouldings later than Level VI are known."
To Düring the changes speak to a cultural transition, but I would also suggest a change in the interpretation of celestial phenomena. The cultural transition might pinpoint the time when the vulture image in the nighttime sky no longer alternated with the dark shaped coma in the daytime skies. Eventually the Saturnian figure would have been seen rotating above the north horizon throughout the year. The transition would have involved attempts at new conceptualization of the being in the skies, and we could expect a change in the iconography at Catal Hoyuk.
There is little certainty to be derived from the dates of artifacts, however, since religious iconography tends to outlast its sources by thousands of years. Initial dates would be more certain. But the cultural change noted by Düring may have involved the influx of new people (as she suggests). The emphasis on depicting only fat women may have been imported. On the other hand, if the cultural change did not involve a large influx of new people from elsewhere, it is at least of interest that we see the transition in the figurines from male and female to only depicting "large" females at this time. It would indicate a date at which the perspective of Saturn as seen from Earth changed so much that the elongated, standing vulture body became compressed because it was being viewed from further below.
Later Figurines in Anatolia
Increasingly the change in perspective, looking south, but also looking north from Earth below Saturn, would have distorted the "figures" in the sky progressively to become all but unrecognizable. And apparently what we start to see at other locations, is not only a seated lumpy figurine (as at Catal Hoyuk), but ones with strange fleshy appendages in all the wrong places. The Fat Ladies of remote antiquity, the Venus Figurines, have now assumed the amorphous shape of a snowman or a gingerbread woman. Facial features, which were never distinct when Saturn and Uranus were seen from a greater distance, now seem to have disappeared altogether, or the head is entirely missing, except for a long neck. If a face is shown at all, it is wearing a mask. These aspects of the figurines are duplicated by the millions worldwide -- the figurines have become amorphous, misshapen, long-necked, headless or masked, and steatopygic. The ladies are either shown as seated or have huge buttocks and breasts which jut out sideways nearly as much as the buttocks.
As others have pointed out, the first transition from naturalistic to stylized figurines can be placed at about 5600 BC. Only at a later time -- after 4077 BC -- do the figurines become even more stylized, with huge buttocks and breasts, and a spindle for a head. Many are now rendered as flat plaques, perhaps to function as amulets to be worn. They are no longer conceived of as a three-dimensional figure; they no longer even look like a fat woman.
What are we seeing here? It is the flat triple snowball plaque which is especially interesting. My inclination is to suggest that the "snowman" woman represent the triple ball plasmoids seen in the far south. The date of the appearance of the triple snowball plaque, 5600 BC, matches dates at Lepenski Vir, 6500 to 5500 BC (see a previous chapter for details). The dates, however, are not correct if the last of the ball plasmoids was seen before 8347 BC.
With respect to the northern skies, various people throughout the world describe the Saturnian coma as the "chaos before creation." The chaos was called a "swirling cloud" by some people, and "fluffy, like cotton" by others. It is consistently described as turning, but this is not Saturn and its coma turning about itself (which would not have been easily seen), but describes the whole mass turning in a circle about the Earth's north star in the sky.
The "turning in the skies" is almost certain, and not just from the descriptions which come down to us from remote antiquity. The Saturnian "cloud" turned in the skies about the North Pole on a daily basis because it is unlikely that the rotational axis of Earth and Saturn lined up, even with the Earth nearly directly below Saturn.
I had earlier assigned the year 5800 BC or 5600 BC as a milepost in the development of the relationship between Saturn and Earth, first, because of a minor change in climate, minor, but a definite improvement. Secondly, there is a clear change in the depiction of figurines (at least, in Anatolia). It is mainly on the basis of these that I have been willing to assign the arrival of Earth below the south pole of Saturn to about 5800 BC.
The turning of Saturn in a circle about the pole star in the sky perhaps lasted for all of the time that Saturn stood in the skies. We have recollections of this from Mesoamerican and Vedic Indian sources.
What I have attempted to plot in this section are the long-range changes in the image in the skies. It started with the chubby Venus Figurines of 27,000 years ago. These represent a view of the Saturnian planets from afar and seen from a low perspective. After 18,000 years ago the figurines elongate and take on slimmer dimensions. I suspect this is the view at an equatorial level to Saturn. Earth had moved up in its orbit, and the planets were seen in a perspective which revealed the true separation between them. Then, after an initial electric field contact in 10,900 BC, Earth started to lower its position in relation to Saturn, and after 9,000 BC the figurines become foreshortened and again assume the dimensions of a Fat Lady in the sky. As I have suggested, the Earth was also much closer to Saturn at this time than it was 27,000 years ago. After about 7500 BC, as the Earth continued to move closer to the rotational center of Saturn and nearer by moving up, the foreshortening increases again and the figurines were now rendered as Seated Fat Ladies.
By 5600 BC the original form was lost from sight altogether, and the figurines resume their abstract features, but these are likely to have a source in memories. At this time we see this snowman shape, plus the headless long-necked forms. The earlier plasmoids of the southern Peratt Column had become the model for figurines.
By about 5000 or 4500 BC Earth was well below Saturn and perhaps moving up to come closer. In the skies Saturn was now located in the north sky and had increased in size. The image of a woman has completely disappeared, and what is seen instead is a nebulous cloud of constantly moving plasma in glow mode.
Throughout almost all of this very long period the figurines (except for the snow-man figurines) maintain certain features -- the nodding head, the bird mask, the lack of a face, the slit eyes, the nakedness, and the missing feet. But for long periods of time the figurines were perhaps as often shaped by expectations of classical models as by transcription from real life.
Note 1 --
Later Homo erectus, and Neanderthals, and other earlier hominids in Europe develop a method of splitting uniformly sized cutting blades from the edges of a preshaped core of flint (with a flattened top and bottom surface). This method changes very little over 100,000 to 300,000 years. This was a vast improvement over the Homo erectus Acheulean hand axe industry, but it is crude compared to the complete lithic tool-kit of Cro-Magnon or compared to their carefully shaped knives and spearpoints.
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Note 2 --
Caves were decorated only at long intervals. For two recently discovered caves, untrampled by modern humans, we have Carbon-14 dates from carbon of fires on the floors and torch relighting sites. Cosquer cave, discovered in 1991, was first entered 27,000 years ago and then not again visited (to add animal murals) until 8500 years later. Chauvet cave, discovered in 1994, was decorated about 31,000 years ago (the Carbon-14 data spans 1500 years) and entered again 4000 years later for an inspection tour.
It should also be noted that the painted areas of the caves (mostly located deep underground) were never used as occupation sites.
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Note 3 --
The disappearance of the Cro-Magnon cultures in Europe coincides with the advent of a dry climate in Southern Europe, circa 8000 BC. Climatic conditions after 9000 BC reflected the northward shift of climatic zones due to the start of the Hypsithermal, so that Southern Europe became a desert zone. After 9000 BC there were vastly improved conditions at latitudes further north. But in Northern Europe there are no limestone caves.
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Note 4 --
Comparing changes in the philosophy, practice, and iconography of the major religions to the implied "worldview" of Cro-Magnon, you may note that, despite the conservatism of the modern religions, the changes in the last 2000 years far exceed any noticeable change in cave decor, figurines, or even tools among the Cro-Magnon over a period twenty times as long.
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Note 5 --
To repeat an endnote from the introductory chapter:
The concept of subjective consciousness was developed by Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976). Subjective consciousness involves the ability to recognize yourself as seen by others -- an "analog I" -- which is internalized and placed into the space of the imagination. This represented a new mental space, based on a metaphorical displacement of the self, and was not seen in use before about 1000 BC.
You can look through the "eyes" of this "substitute I" or even observe yourself from afar in your mind. Biologically, it involves the functional separation of volition and consciousness in the speech centers of the brain. "Memory" and "self-awareness" do not determine subjective consciousness.
Some people never achieve subjective consciousness, yet they appear fully functional. Pre-conscious people are almost indistinguishable from subjectively conscious people. Pre-subjectively-conscious people can learn anything, including mathematics, and certainly they can joke, experience emotions, and carry on convoluted dialogues with each other. However, they rely heavily on the learned admonitions of parents and authority figures ("oughts" and "shoulds") and have difficulty with novel situations.
The concepts are more fully developed in the text. See also the chapter "Language and Causality."
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Note 6 --
Dates for the initial drawings in Chauvet Cave, 31,000 ya, span a range of 1500 years. This might represent the variation in Carbon-14 dating, or it may mean that the drawings were in production for a long period.
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Note 7 --
Jean Clottes and Jean Courtin, in The Cave Beneath the Sea: Paleolithic Images at Cosquer (1996). The quoted statement in the text is about Upper Paleolithic cave art in general. One cave shows reindeer swimming through a river. The river is probably the Absu, introduced earlier in the text. Most figures seen in the skies were likely in glow mode plasma excitement, and would thus be seen through the Absu.
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Note 8 --
It has been suggested that most of the caves have eroded and that we have only discovered a small percentage of them. Implicit in this suggestion is that those few caves which have lasted to the present day experienced unusually stable climatological conditions which resulted in preserving images from as long as 31,000 years ago. I doubt this, for although the cool below-ground environment may help to reduce the growth of fungus (which attack the animal fats used as pigment carriers), it is probably much more significant that the artists used some of the most stable and chemically inert substances: red iron oxide, manganese dioxide, and carbon black. Other colors were mixed from these, with the exception of white, for which a clay was used, and which is also stable.
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Note 9 --
Cro-Magnon ranged over Eastern and Western Europe, North Africa, the Black Sea region, and Southwestern Asia, and earlier in Australia. "Cro-Magnon" might be understood as a body type among the great variety of Homo sapiens sapiens.
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Note 10 --
The methods of graphic depiction on two-dimensional surfaces in antiquity differs markedly from our practice. Egyptian graphics are based, for example, on rendering recognizable features, with little regard to physical relationships, not unlike Cubism. Thus eyes are shown as seen frontally even though drawn on the profiles of faces. Breasts and nipples are both drawn as seen from the front, resulting in turning the top of the trunk (and the shoulders and arms) sideways from the face in profile. The navel takes an intermediate location, slightly turned away from a profile view, and the legs are again turned back to a side view. That is how humans looked in the overall: all the parts were there.
Sculpture in the round is a very notable exception to this.
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Note 11 --
In Mesopotamia, spells, prayers, and magical incantations are certainly of a late date, after 1200 BC. The earlier attitude toward the Gods was one of direct communication on a one-to-one basis.
Egyptian funeral spells date from 2350 BC, and perhaps earlier. The content reflects a great antiquity, but their magical use probably dates to after 1500 BC. The early spells reflect the Egyptian attitude toward language and naming of things as actual, that is, not metaphorical or symbolic.
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Note 12 --
Current speculation suggests that the cave paintings are the work of women, since the hand prints which have been found are small. That may just mean that the handprints are of women.
Another twist is the suggestion that the caves were augmented with new images and that images were overpainted and repaired for hundreds of generations.
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Note 13 --
James Mellaart Catal Hoyuk (1967). Considering the later antics of Mellaart, I cannot quite trust the content of this book.
See [www.catalhoyuk.com] for reports on the current excavation which started in 1993. After 10 years of a multimillion-dollar excavation, the current task force, which is adding buildings, a museum, permanent covers, etc, to the site, has found almost nothing. (See [www.catalhoyuk.com/newsletters/index.html].) Contrary to the claims made in Mellaart's book, it is slowly becoming clear that these people subsisted on plants and domestic sheep, with some goats. Only at a later date are grains (barley and emmer wheat) found at Catal Hoyuk. The domestication of the aurochs has not been proven yet. It looks more like females were culled from wild herds (which was the practice at other locations). Mellaart's suggestion of excarnation as the burial practice is contradicted by the finds, except in a few instances. No particular trading industries have been found, and it looks like the cache of obsidian which was found was imported in finished form. The "deer hunting scene" mural found by Mellaart seems to reflect wishful thinking or a long forgotten tradition, since almost no deer bones have been found. Additional figurines which have been found are crude to the extreme.
Mellaart was lucky in his excavations and may have extended the finds to overly imaginative renderings of the building interiors, which is the practice among archaeologists anyway, although generally more subdued. (Mellaart is from a family of visual artists.) Mellaart also excavated a large area, whereas the current excavators have limited themselves to tiny areas, and only after ten years of digging realized that such methods were not going to find anything on a par with Mellaart's finds.
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Note 14 --
Radial spokes have been noted for the planet Saturn. The spokes only show up sporadically in the middle set of rings, and have remained incomprehensible to astronomers. The plasma explanation is that the spokes represent outward directed electric discharges (arcing). Thus spokes could be expected for Earth's rings, since the planet was under continuous electric stresses perhaps since the Paleolithic.
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Note 15 --
The vulture image appears on pottery at many unrelated sites throughout the Middle East and Southeastern Europe (Gimbutas). It is probably also identified as the "Thunderbird" of the North American Indians.
Absolutely huge shapes of birds with spread wings are constructed as mounds at a number of locations in antiquity, as, for example, the mound at San Lorenzo in Veracruz, Mexico, dating to 1450 BC, and at Poverty Point, Louisiana, North America, dated to circa 1350 BC, and as a marked up landscape at Nazca, Peru, dated to about 5000 BC. The two bird mounds face east.
Old World vultures are the largest of birds. At least four (current) species which range in or near the Eastern Mediterranean have wingspans of 9 feet (3 meters). Coloration varies from black to red-brown, but a number of species have white down on their breast. Most vultures also have large distinct flat feet, made for walking. This relates to the human-like feet of the vultures depicted at Catal Hoyuk.
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Note 16 --
There is reputed to be another mural which depicts a (horned) person holding two vultures by the neck, one in each hand. I would have suggested that this might appear as an image of Saturn and its companion planets. The image, others have remarked, is reminiscent of much later Sumerian images (circa 2500 BC) of Gilgamesh holding two lions by their necks. (The image is also found in predynastic Egypt.)
However, the horned person image is suspect. It appears only in a much later text by Mellaart, et alii, The Goddess from Anatolia (1989). This book was published by a dealer in Anatolian rugs (kilims). The book was not entirely well-received. A scathing critique by Marla Mallett, a professional weaver, appeared in Oriental Rug Review, (August/September, 1990), as "A Weaver's View of the Catal Hoyuk Controversy."
Mallett identifies the horned deity holding the vultures as a "modern kilim pattern of geometricized carnations [which] should be turned upside down." Mallett opens her critique with:"It is logical to believe that vestiges of deeply rooted prehistoric cult mythology appear in modern Anatolian kilim imagery. Theories as unorthodox, however, as those presented in the new Mellaart/Hirsch/Balpinar publication, The Goddess from Anatolia, 1989, must endure close scrutiny of all the arguments and evidence. Neither the work's hefty price tag nor its padding with archaeological references and lessons in ancient history ensures credibility. The elegant prose of supporters' reviews should certainly not secure automatic endorsements."
"Fascinated by archaeological findings at Catal Hoyuk in South Central Turkey, but skeptical because of problems encountered in earlier articles, I was eager to see the new book. It was a shock. I was stunned by stylistic inconsistencies between the Neolithic wall paintings shown in photographs or scale copies, and the new group of 44 "reconstruction" drawings by James Mellaart. Here were elaborately detailed, panoramic works said to be "reconstructed" from fragments, but with no verifying photos. Here were stylistically garbled sketches displaying irreconcilable design concepts. Here, placed alongside modern kilims, were purported copies of their Neolithic counter-parts -- but with warp and weft directions jumbled. From my weaver's perspective, questions of iconography, design diffusion, and historical continuity became incidental. Basic issues needed attention first. Were the drawings credible? Could slit-tapestry weaving actually have occurred in Neolithic Anatolia? Was there proof? Or indeed, any evidence of such production?"
Specifically about the mural of the person holding two vultures, she writes:[Image: Birdman mural from Mellaart, et alii, The Goddess from Anatolia (1989), discussed by Marla Mallett.]"A second conflict is apparent in Mellaart's 1967 comment, 'vultures occur only in levels VIII and VII.' A look at the Goddess 'reconstructions' shows, however, that in the 22 intervening years a plentiful supply of vultures has materialized -- nearly all in paintings supposedly from later shrines, levels VI through II. For example, one much touted motif, a 'deity holding two vultures' (or 'bird carrier'), is from one of the panoramic paintings (Fig. 9) allegedly from Shrine A.III-11. This detail, from an already suspicious work, is the basis for Mr. Mellaart's argument that a common modern kilim pattern of geometricized carnations should be turned upside down and reinterpreted as 'deities with vultures.'"
Mallett notes that the weavers in Anatolia are Turks from Central Asia, not Anatolia. They arrived in Anatolia in the 13th century AD. See [www.marlamallett.com/ch.htm].
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Note 17 --
[Image: Teddy Bear wall sculptures, Catal Hoyuk. After Mellaart.].
The "Teddy Bear" forms might represent the southern plasmoid. These might also represent plasma stream discontinuities of the "stick man" variety.
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Note 18 --
Two other instances of these vertical graphics are shown below. The left image was understood as an excarnation scene by Mellaart.
Ladders were in use at Catal Hoyuk for access to the rooftop doorways to the housing.
[Image: Left: Catal Hoyuk excarnation scene, after Mellaart, 1967. Right: Catal Hoyuk, vertical design, after Mellaart, 1967.]
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Note 19 --
The Celestial Bull will be identified and named in Mesopotamian legend (the Epic of Gilgamesh) and Egyptian iconography (the Palette of Narmer) as the Bull of Heaven.
Gimbutas has shown some Goddesses of the Neolithic with horns, which she equates with phases of the Moon. But these clearly date from the time when Saturn went nova, after 4077 BC, and long before the Moon showed up near Earth.
The only figure from the much earlier European Upper Paleolithic which is shown with a horn is the Gravettian "Venus of Laussel" (27,000 to 24,000 BC), in Southern France, a naked fat woman holding an ibex horn in her right hand, carved on a rock face. The ibex was widely hunted in Europe.
In Greek and Roman times the bucrania are equated with altars and sacrifices. It had become a symbol of an acceptable sacrifice of a bull to a deity.
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Note 20 --
The image is somewhat suspect, in that the "style" does not reflect the blocky, graphic geometric designs used in other murals. It looks more like a cliff-face rendition from the Western Sahara of about the same date or later.
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Note 21 --
A seated figurine appeared on the last day of excavation by Mellaart. It shows a grossly fat woman seated with her arms resting on two panthers, and reminded other archaeologists of images of the much later Anatolian Goddess Cybele, who is also associated with wild animals, and depicted in the same manner. The figurine found by Mellaart was headless, but a reconstruction of an upright head with a face and a rolled cap has been added. This figurine has become a cultural icon with "Mother Goddess" worshipers. The authenticity of the reconstruction may not be correct, however. There were few, if any, figurines found at Catal Hoyuk which had heads with which to compare. This is, at any rate, not a form of the typical Venus Figurine (especially for the particular period of Catal Hoyuk). The Cybele figurine probably is exactly what it is suggested to be. The Goddess was current in Anatolia and Canaan at a later date, much after 2300 BC (my estimate), although reputed to be of Neolithic origin. The association with animals suggests that Cybele represents the ball plasmoid of the south, which would have been in view.[Image: Catal Hoyuk, Central Anatolia, 7400 to 6200 BC. The Fat Lady with crescent mural. On the left: a "reconstruction" by James Mellaart, from Mellaart, et alii, The Goddess from Anatolia (1989). On the right: a line drawing from Gimbutas, The Living Goddess (1999).]
I wanted to use another image with the text of this chapter, a mural, shown above and reproduced in the book by Mellaart The Goddess from Anatolia (1989) and by Gimbutas as a line drawing ten years later in The Living Goddess (1999).
But I found the iconography curious, and out of style with what I would have expected. It would be the only instance of which I was aware where a crescent is associated with the pubic area of figurines. Although in outline the forms were congruent with figurines of a thousand years later, after 5600 BC, from Southeastern Europe as well as Anatolia (and elsewhere), at the time of Catal Hoyuk, before 6200 BC, figurines worldwide were rendered more or less realistically, not as snowmen.
I later discovered that Marla Mallett, in "An Updated View of the Catal Hoyuk Controversy," in Oriental Rug Review (December 1992/January 1993), had also pointed out the suspect nature of this image, which supposedly is derived from room (shrine) AIII-11, although in the 1963 report by Mellaart this room was dismissed as containing only fragments of a hunting scene. To quote Mallett:"Mellaart has now  claimed that this building had 'some ten successive layers of painting, all differing from each other.' He has not explained this latest contradiction, nor has he told us why such extensive paintings were ignored in the 1963 report."
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