In the North West of Italy, archaeologists have been exploring a rock shelter that was used by early Europeans from 13 000 years ago. Up in the Alps
is the rock shelter of Riparo Dalmeri. It’s a well-preserved location and all the garbage that humans leave
behind them has been used to learn much about these ancient peoples. In particular, a habit of theirs brings them back to life and it’s easier to
imagine them living their lives with similar superstitions to those we have today.
Scattered among the rocks and debris of the shelter floor are a collection of stones that have been painted with human and animal figures…
From the research team…
Well, we’ve all seen rock art before so what makes these any more special than the rest? Red ochre? Seen it all before. Animals? Seen that too.
What makes these stones special is that the majority of them were turned face
down (pdf research paper) and placed amongst the debris field of the shelter’s floor. A tiny mark of the red paint was dabbed on the visible
side so they could be recognised.
This could mean a great many things with the most tempting idea being that they represented some magical or ritual significance.
Whatever the painted objects meant, these hunters picked out their flat stones, made the paint, painted the stones and laid them face down. For me,
the common humanity of these thoughts and actions brings us closer to our ancestors.
sounds like a sigil
placing them face down allows the conscious mind to forget [and thus override lust of result]
the dab is to remind the artist-magician to not turn it over/ that it has been used
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