32,500-Year-Old Star Map

This is probably the oldest constellation picture, whose age makes approximately 32,500 years. On a small piece of mammoth tusk, a human figure is pictured, with arms and legs situated in the same way as Oryon constellation.

The ivory tablet was found in 1979 in Asch Valley, in outskirts of the German city of Ulm. The dating of other things found along with the tablet allows to determine the age of the find as 32,500-38,000 years. The tablet was left by a mysterious nation, Auriniaks. There is no information about them, expect but that they came to Europe from the East about 40,000 years ago and forced out native Netherlands population.

The tablet size is not impressive – only 38 mm x 14 mm x 4 mm, while, according to incisions on the tablet sides, the archaeologists concluded it had had initially the same size. On one side, there is a picture of a human being with raised arms and moved apart legs. Something is picture between his legs (for scientists, this is a sward). The human being’s waist is very narrow, while his left leg is shorter, than the right one. From poor volume of information about supposed mythology of the mysterious nation, archaeologists concluded that was the figure of a praying or dancing man, or of a cat-man, or of some other sacral being.

So, Michael Rappenglueck from the University of Munich said the image is nothing else than the picture of a constellation, to be more precise, the constellation of Oryon, while 32,000 years ago this constellation may have been considered to be a hunter. The figure proportions correspond with situation of stars which make up Oryon Constellation, especially the narrow waist, corresponding with the belt of three stars, and the left leg which is shorter than the right one. The “sward” also corresponds with some known phenomenon which could be observed in Oryon constellation.

There are also some other arguments for Rappenglueck’s rightness. 32,000 years ago, stars had a bit different situation, than now. The scientist found evidence that 32,000 ago, one star of Oryon Constellation had definitely occupied another place, than it does now.

The tabley could have been, among other purposes, a pregnancy calendar. On its sides and on the back, there are 86 incisions which may have two meanings. On the one hand, this is the number of days which should be subtracted from full year to get the time of a human being gestation, and it is hardly a coincidence. On the other hand, the most prominent pulsing star, making up the constellation, Betelgeise, could be seen for 86 days. For ancient people, this could mean a connection between gods in the sky and a human birth.


Translated by Vera Solovieva

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