Humanity has been creating art since the dawn of mankind. These ancient artworks usually reflect our ancestor’s culture and beliefs. Interestingly, scientists have found surprising details about our history through art.
Although most artworks have revealed interesting information, some have left scientists scratching their heads. For instance, nobody knows how artists managed to carve petroglyphs into the steep cliff face of the Oglakhty mountains 5,000 years ago. After all, these rock faces are barely accessible to the most experienced climbers these days. Needless to say, our ancestors may have risked their own life for their artworks. Here are seven other surprising discoveries that were revealed by ancient art.
1. The Savannas Of Saudi Arabia
We all know that most of the Arabian Peninsula are vast deserts with arid conditions. However, rock art discovered in the area may have confirmed that Saudi Arabia once had thriving savannas filled with greenery and wild animals.
In 2016, researchers found amazing petroglyphs of cheetah, leopard, hyena, gazelle, lion, and ibex on sandstones near the northwestern city of Hail. This led to speculations that the desert once had a more humid and wetter climate similar to the savannas in East Africa.
2. Hunting Under The Supernova
There is little doubt that our ancestors always took note of their environment for their own survival. However, they also looked up to the stars and incorporated the sky into their art.
An ancient house in Kashmir Valley’s Burzahom has unveiled a surprising artwork. The image depicts hunters chasing an animal under two massive celestial bodies. Scientists have concluded that the supernova shown in the artwork is HB9, which was visible in the sky around 3600 BC.
3. Neanderthals And Art
Researchers have been trying to find the reason why the Neanderthals became extinct. Interestingly, new evidence from their artwork may have revealed it had to do with their poor hand-eye coordination.
Scientists suggest that the Neanderthals were not very good hunters considering that their cave artworks were rather primitive. It was concluded that the ancient species never honed their skills and evolved to become better hunters. Nevertheless, the Neanderthals knew how to stay fabulous, as evidenced in the next entry.
4. Neanderthals And Body Glitter
Anyone can sprinkle on some body glitter these days. However, the Neanderthals may have been the first people to actually use glitter as some form of makeup.
Scientists noticed this while inspecting shells that were once worn as jewelry. The shells contained certain pigments that may have been used as some sort of caveman body shimmer. Think of that every time you wonder if your highlighter is popping.
5. The Canaanite Thinker
Auguste Rodin may have thought he was creating something truly unique when he began work on The Thinker in 1880. However, there is a much older version of the sculpture that has been discovered at a Bronze Age site in Yehud, Israel.
The Canaanite Thinker sits on top of a ceramic jug and is believed to be 4,000 years old. It is one of a kind because scientists believe the figure was added only after the jug was made.
6. Egypt’s First Pharaoh
Narmer is credited for unifying Egypt and founding the First Dynasty. This is why he is believed to be the subject of the oldest rock art ever found near the Nile River.
The artwork depicts a royal figure wearing a bowling pin-like hat accompanied by several attendants and bearded men towing large ships. The art has been dated back to roughly 3200 and 3100 B.C., which is the same time Narmer unified Egypt.
7. The Llama Worshipers
Llamas are certainly impressive creatures that have been important to the Andean culture for several years. However, the people of the Atacama clearly took it up a notch by worshipping the animals.
There are several Taira rock art in the Atacama desert and most of them feature llamas that were used in ritual ceremonies. The artworks were created to please the deities and ensure a fruitful llama harvest.
The 1930s Meme That Became The World’s Most Spoken Word Started As A Joke
And the rest, as they say, is history.
The word 'OK' was first used in the 1830s when Boston’s young intellectuals started the fad of intentionally abbreviating certain expressions incorrectly as a joke to entertain people. Some of the abbreviated words were KC for “knuff ced” (enough said), KY for “know yuse” (no use), OW for “oll wright” (all right), and the OK “oll korrect” (all correct).
Somehow, OK is the only one that survived the passage of time and here's how:
During the early 1800s, “all right” means everything was in order.
Meet Mona Lisa Of The Seine, The World’s Most-Kissed Girl
Have you kissed her?
One of the most viewed displays at the International Life Cast Museum of Boston is the “Inconnue de la Seine" (the unknown woman of the Seine). She wears an enigmatic smile that inspired a lot of poets, novelists, and artists for many decades.
Her smile is enthralling but her backstory is more fascinating. In the 19th century, a lifeless body of a young woman was pulled out from the Seine River in Paris. During that period, every unidentified body was placed on a marble slab then put up against the morgue’s window for public viewing. This morbid and eccentric method was once a form of entertainment for Europeans.
Her beautiful face and Mona Lisa smile inspired the pathologist to have her face molded on a plaster cast.
Rare 17th Century Coin That Stopped Police From Shaving Your Beard Found In Russia
The ‘beard tax’ token is said to be “priceless”!
If you think maintaining a beard is expensive these days, you might consider yourself lucky compared to 17th century Russians. Archaeologists have discovered a rare 300-year-old coin that was once used to prove the holder had paid for beard tax. The "beard kopek" is only the second known example of the coin and is considered priceless.
The coin was discovered in the remains of a 17th-century building in the western Russian city of Pskov. It was one of over 5,000 coins recovered from the site. The kopek is made of copper and features the image of a beard and a mustache. The words "Money Paid" is written above the mustache.
The copper token was reportedly minted in 1699.