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Fraser
2018-Dec-01, 12:30 AM
According to a new study that examined ancient cave paintings and archaeological sites, it appears that prehistoric humans had a greater understanding of astronomy than we thought.
The post Prehistoric Cave Paintings Show That Ancient People Had Pretty Advanced Knowledge of Astronomy (https://www.universetoday.com/140705/prehistoric-cave-paintings-show-that-ancient-people-had-pretty-advanced-knowledge-of-astronomy/) appeared first on Universe Today (https://www.universetoday.com).


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profloater
2018-Dec-01, 03:21 PM
I have always thought, from the experience of a dark sky, that all our ancestors had to be in awe of the stars, and the wandering stars, and were bound to look for meaning in the changes. It should be no surprise that they associated comets with bad news and tried to predict them. The ability to work out a long term precession period is in another class of understanding. It has been shown how to use a henge to predict eclipses as well as solstices, but how long would it take to observe enough to detect precession of the equinoxes?

Cougar
2018-Dec-01, 07:02 PM
"Within the excavated shrine rooms, their are carvings of animals (auroch heads, ram heads, a bear symbol and the pouncing lion/leopard) that are similar to reliefs found at Gobekli Tepe and are believed to represent the constellations of Capricornus, Aries, Ursa and Cancer."

That's quite a stretch. Orion is one of the most notable "constellations" in the night sky, and according to the animation in this Wired article (https://www.wired.com/2015/03/gifs-show-constellations-transforming-150000-years/), it is not greatly changed in the past 150,000 years. If these carvings and cave painting animals are supposed to represent star positionings, where is the "representation" of the most notable positioning of the stars that make up Orion?

Hornblower
2018-Dec-02, 03:55 AM
Let me start by nitpicking a bit. In the second paragraph Mr. Williams mentioned precession of the equinoxes as a complex astronomical phenomenon. To me it is no more complex than the annual movement of the stars relative to the sun. It's just too slow to be easily noticed in a human lifetime or longer. Without the geometric understanding of a marker such as a lunar eclipse indicating the antisolar point relative to the stars, a very long cultural memory is needed to see that something like the reappearance of a particular star or constellation in the morning sky is coming a month later after 2,000 years. All this article said was "maybe", and did not give any specific examples that could be interpreted as possible recognition of this phenomenon.