Early Graphic Communications in Cave Paintings


Thanks to Derek for alerting me to this video which explores some of the earliest known forms of graphic communications and symbolism, building on previous posts here on the blog. Here is the TED blurb, and the speaker has a book, The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World’s Oldest Symbols (also available on Abebooks UK and Abebooks USA).

Written language, the hallmark of human civilization, didn’t just suddenly appear one day. Thousands of years before the first fully developed writing systems, our ancestors scrawled geometric signs across the walls of the caves they sheltered in. Paleoanthropologist, rock art researcher and TED Senior Fellow Genevieve von Petzinger has studied and codified these ancient markings in caves across Europe. The uniformity of her findings suggest that graphic communication, and the ability to preserve and transmit messages beyond a single moment in time, may be much older than we think.

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