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The oldest symbol on earth?

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posted on May, 6 2009 @ 05:10 PM
hmmmmmm mabey doodles???

I doodle stuff like that all day, and don't have a meaning behind it, so if like you said a bunch of nutty arceaologists "guessed" at meanings, then more modern, wanting to appear mysterious types, mabey will "go with it?"

One of MY guesses...

posted on May, 6 2009 @ 05:23 PM
reply to post by Blackmarketeer

The great thing about the hand painitngs is Indigenous Australians still blow ochre from their mouths onto their hands in the same caves as the oldest hand paintings. They continue tradition and are part of the 'same story', and they see no differentiation in story journey of past ancestors and current clan members.

OP forget Obleisks, or abstract symbols, they are too modern.

The oldest remaining art is cave art, and you can call it symbolic, ie symbolising the hunt. The oldest symbols you will NEVER know as they were possibly painted on to humans, scratched into the earth or cast from blood of animals into the ground. We obviously have no record of these so we have to go with the evidence in caves. The France paintings are quite good artistically for 32 000 years old.

The Australian cave painitngs are probably quite a bit older (debated) but unlike the European or Asian cave paintings that combined charchoal that you can carbon date, the ochre is from the rock in the cave so you can't really date it very well.

a very S I M P L E cave painting description

edit typo

[edit on 6-5-2009 by zazzafrazz]

posted on May, 6 2009 @ 05:50 PM
For a symbol, by definition, to be a symbol it has to convey a meaning. We may not understand that meaning or lose the context such meaning was conceived, but generally speaking the symbol is still recognized as such. Notches carved in a bone 1.2 million years ago may be a symbol (was it religious, art, or something else?) but most likely it had no meaning and was not a symbol of anything. It could simply be an ancient early human sharpening a stone tool or playing with a bone out of boredom. We don't know because we see no meaning in such marks. I wouldn't rule them out completely as a symbol, however they are simply too cryptic for our understanding.

Paleolithic cave art though is clearly symbolic - we modern city dwellers grasp their meaning. Cave art may not be a true language, but it is written in symbols we can understand. It is based on forms ancient man knew - the human body and the animals he encountered. I believe that by the time cave art progressed beyond the human/animal form to more abstract forms, such as spirals and the like, ancient man stood at the cusp of written language.

edit: this is a really nice thread, don't forget to S+F!

[edit on 6-5-2009 by Blackmarketeer]

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 09:15 PM
reply to post by ZeroGhost

Originally posted by BlackmarketeerAll the earliest symbols or signs used parts of the human body - an eye, or head, or hand, to convey a meaning.

I share this opinion, as stated here. The first artefacts were portable objects, and before that people carried only themselves around, and had only their bodies to compare the internal and external worlds.

Originally posted by ZeroGhostThe Chrismon is the monogram of the Christ, but it pre dates Jesus.

The Chrismon is an 8-sided star and is 1 continuous line. Very cool symbol. I cant go into the details much for it is ancient and was used again and called something else, but originally it was the symbol of Christ Consciousness, or some similar spiritual state.

You might be interested in synchromystic view of the Octagon. Also, most of the stuff towards the end of this post.

edit: fixed poor use of bb code

[edit on 5/9/2009 by ViolatoR]

posted on May, 10 2009 @ 11:34 AM

Originally posted by zazzafrazz
OP forget Obleisks, or abstract symbols, they are too modern.

Agreed. The oldest ones date to around 1800 BC, which is pretty modern, actually (we've found settlements up to 16,000 BC (reliable dating) and older (questionable dating.) No obelisks. Even the "henges" are dated only to 3,000-4,000 BC. They're mere babies compared to handprints and animal drawings and tally marks (like the ones shown in the BBC article.)

The circle-with-dot sign is not as old as some other signs although it's found many places. It also means different things in different areas. In Hawaii, the circle-dot petroglyphs represent births (I was in Hawaii about six years ago, researching petroglyphs as part of a paper for an anthropology class.)

Obelisks are not really symbols as much as they are architecture (like square houses, round houses, etc.) And no, the Muslims aren't stoning an obelisk or any part of one. And the Masons only adopted the Obelisk back in the 1700's.

posted on May, 10 2009 @ 11:43 AM

Originally posted by m4ng4n
But what is the true origin of the obelisks, the most ancient symbol to find?

The obelisk, when carved from a single piece of stone was thought to act like a sort of psychic antannae, the more modern version is a judeomasonic symbol that basicly says we own this town, I started a thread a while back that was going to go into this aspect but it was closed.

posted on May, 10 2009 @ 12:59 PM
NoHup, BlackMarketeer and Zeroghost's suggestions make sense. It may be unreasonable to try to identify the 'first' symbol as several similar symbols might have been used in different areas simultaneously. Certainly, straight notches and circles appear to be universal. The urge to represent an abstract seems to be an innate predisposition. Give ten toddlers paper and a pen, within the scribble there will be circles and lines.

(Idle speculation) Nature favors awareness of location and food sources. Bees do the 'waggle dance', mammals leave musk or urine to mark territory etc. I wonder if the very earliest, deliberate symbols were related to marking locations? Maybe they were a reflection of our inherent artistic sensibilities?

posted on May, 11 2009 @ 12:31 AM
A tough questions because the interpretation of words like symbol and icon are open-ended.

Neanderthals buried their dead with red ochre painted on, maybe 30-100,00 years ago.

Most food dyes disintegrate so we have little evidence how extensive and far back it goes. But body-painting maybe originally for camouflage must go back really far.

Sexual potency, simulations of animal powers, and status were probably conferred though the usage of applied colour to the skin. Drawing lines and images were an inevitable evolution.

I also imagine when tools came into use, the pointed knife became iconic particularly with it's resonance of the erect penis.

Somehow I can see the perfect circle being satisfying to create as it existed in the sky with the sun and moon.


posted on Jun, 30 2009 @ 11:53 AM
Ive always wanted to do something with an obelisk, ive wanted to resonate certain patterns of sound through it and see the effect. Maybe test a hollow obelisk, maybe it will amplify things, maybe see if i can use obelisks for telecommunications, well in simple systems. I dont know, they could have been a communications type thign.

posted on Jun, 30 2009 @ 11:56 AM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


posted on Jul, 1 2009 @ 12:40 AM
reply to post by unclekrabz

seeing noone has realized how stupid this comment is, well here you go, i was trying to make fun of these nuclear ancient believers

posted on Jul, 1 2009 @ 07:32 AM
I think the circle with the dot in the center is a reference to fertility.

A pregnant mother's belly with the belly button in the middle.

My 2 cents.


posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 12:26 PM
It seems to me that an Obelisk is a relatively new symbol "in the grand scheme of things".

Stone obelisks have only been around about 6000 years. That's pretty new when one considers that the Lascaux cave paintings have been around for 16,000 years, and other symbols painted on caves have been found to be 25,000 years old. That's nearly 20,000 years older than the "obelisks".

And, as others have said, I'm sure humans were drawing symbols in the dirt for possibly 100,000 years -- most likely to communicate to others the locations of things such as food.

As for the meaning for the obelisk shape, I will have to agree with some others who say it is a giant phallus -- and thus a sign of power.

[edit on 7/2/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 12:35 PM
The answer to that question is HUMAN EYES.

reflect deep on that.

posted on Jul, 11 2009 @ 02:26 PM
reply to post by Max_TO

probably. Though the dot is pretty much circumstantial. Hard to draw a good circle without a compass (a forked stick will do the trick)

posted on Jul, 12 2009 @ 04:08 PM
This might be a little too abstract but rather than looking for the "oldest symbol on earth" as a depiction in stone, earth, or paint, what about the symbolism of burial?

Before shamans began painting on cave walls they were living in communal groupings and burying their dead, and the act of a ritual burial is symbolic of a belief in the afterlife (or at least symbolic of caring for their dead.

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