Archaeological investigators from India claim their in-depth research of historical night sky charts backs a theory that ancient rock art that depicts an astronomical event. Experts suggest the find may be the oldest star chart ever discovered, as well as the very first portrayal of a supernova.
Mysterious Rock Art Puzzles Scientists
As International Business Times reports , the peculiar rock art dates back to between 2100 and 4100 BC and was found at the Burzahom Neolithic site in the Kashmir region of Asia in Northern India. According to the archaeologists, it portrays a sky with two glaring objects in it and figures of humans and animals below. At first sight, both the animals and humans appeared to be part of a hunting scene, but after detailed examination, scientists have concluded that the figures depict star patterns and the two bright objects are a sun or moon and a supernova.
Left, photograph of the petroglyphs. Right, a sketch of it. (Image: IGNCA)
“We reinterpret the picture with emphasis on the two extremely bright celestial bodies shown in the picture. There is clear indication that the two celestial objects drawn are very bright. One of the objects is either the Sun or bright Moon and second object is relatively close to the first. They cannot be Sun and Moon since, with such proximity to the Sun, the Moon would be in a partial phase around the new and hence not very bright. We investigate the possibility that the observed object is not a star pair as even in other prehistoric drawings from European caves, stars are never shown as large disks,” scientists theorize in a paper that was published in the December issue of the Indian Journal of History of Science .
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Photograph of the petroglyphs. (Image: IGNCA)
The Importance of a Supernova for Science
According to NASA , by supernova scientists define the explosion of a star and it is considered to be the largest explosion that takes place in space. A supernova happens where there is a change in the core, or center, of a star. A change can occur in two different ways, with both resulting in a supernova.
A supernova burns for only a short period of time, but it can tell scientists a lot about the universe. One kind of supernova has shown scientists that we live in an expanding universe, one that is growing at an ever-increasing rate. Scientists also have determined that supernovas play a key role in distributing elements throughout the universe. When the star explodes, it shoots elements and debris into space. Many of the elements we find here on Earth are made in the core of stars. These elements travel on to form new stars, planets and everything else in the universe.
This artist’s impression shows dust forming in the environment around a supernova explosion. ( CC BY 4.0 )
Part of the Puzzle Explained
Astrophysicist Mayank Vahia and his colleagues at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, took a look deep into the past in order to discover if there were any supernovas bright enough to be witnessed on Earth in that period of time. His team discovered that a supernova, HB9, exploded around 3600 BC, placing it around the time the drawing was created.
“Astronomical data are known to predate formal dated settlements in several areas (Baity, 1973) and rock art is known to be the earliest form of human expression and it seems possible that the stone carving was made much earlier than the end period of the civilization. This suggests that HB9 is the most promising candidate supernova for the pictograph. We therefore investigate the possibility that the rock drawing is the record of the supernova HB9. We suggest that the partially drawn object is HB9 since it would be irregular and that the second bright object is Moon since the apparent magnitude of HB9 is closer to that of the Moon,” Dr. Vahia and his colleagues report in their study.
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Skymap of the region HB9 in the skychart for 5700 BC. (Image: Vahia et al )
Dr. Vahia also suggests that the drawings of humans and animals are in reality representations of constellations and not a hunting scene as they initially believed. According to the scientist, a man with a bow represents Orion, while a man holding a spear is part of Pisces. As for the animals, Dr. Vahia has a theory as well: the deer the two men are attacking is Taurus and the dog is the Andromeda galaxy.
Could this be the Earliest Example of a Sky Chart?
A more superficial analysis proposed for the scene is that it is of a hunt and that the two suns indicate that it lasted two days. However, Dr. Vahia proposes that the placement in the scene is not coincidental as it closely equals where these constellations are on a sky chart. If his theory is proven to be accurate, that would make the specific drawing possibly the earliest example of a sky chart and first depiction of a supernova. As International Business Times reports , he and his team’s next move is to try to discover a second example of a sky chart from the region in order to reinforce his theory as the lack of other sky charts from that period of time could mean that Dr. Vahia’s theory is just a coincidence. However, the Indian scientist and his team are very optimistic that they will discover more similar artwork from the region that will confirm the recent discovery’s authenticity.
Posted by Stephen Knapp on June 15, 2013
A lost medieval city that thrived on a mist-shrouded Cambodian mountain 1,200 years ago has been discovered by archaeologists using revolutionary airborne laser technology, a report said.
In what it called a world exclusive, the Sydney Morning Herald said the city, Mahendraparvata, included temples hidden by jungle for centuries, many of which have not been looted.
A journalist and photographer from the newspaper accompanied the “Indiana Jones-style” expedition, led by a French-born archaeologist, through landmine-strewn jungle in the Siem Reap region where Angkor Wat, the largest Hindi temple complex in the world, is located.
The expedition used an instrument called Lidar — light detection and ranging data — which was strapped to a helicopter that criss-crossed a mountain north of Angkor Wat for seven days, providing data that matched years of ground research by archaeologists.
It effectively peeled away the jungle canopy using billions of laser pulses, allowing archaeologists to see structures that were in perfect squares, completing a map of the city which years of painstaking ground research had been unable to achieve, the report said.
It helped reveal the city that reportedly founded the Angkor Empire in 802 AD, uncovering more than two dozen previously unrecorded temples and evidence of ancient canals, dykes and roads using satellite navigation coordinates gathered from the instrument’s data.
Jean-Baptiste Chevance, director of the Archaeology and Development Foundation in London who led the expedition, told the newspaper it was known from ancient scriptures that a great warrior, Jayavarman II, had a mountain capital, “but we didn’t know how all the dots fitted, exactly how it all came together”.
“We now know from the new data the city was for sure connected by roads, canals and dykes,” he said.
The discovery is set to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.
Damian Evans, director of the University of Sydney’s archaeological research centre in Cambodia, which played a key part in developing the Lidar technology, said there might be important implications for today’s society.
“We see from the imagery that the landscape was completely devoid of vegetation,” Evans, a co-expedition leader, said.
“One theory we are looking at is that the severe environmental impact of deforestation and the dependence on water management led to the demise of the civilisation … perhaps it became too successful to the point of becoming unmanageable.”
The Herald said the trek to the ruins involved traversing rutted goat tracks and knee-deep bogs after travelling high into the mountains on motorbikes.
Everyone involved was sworn to secrecy until the findings were peer-reviewed.
Evans said it was not known how large Mahendraparvata was because the search had so far only covered a limited area, with more funds needed to broaden it out.
“Maybe what we see was not the central part of the city, so there is a lot of work to be done to discover the extent of this civilisation,” he said.
“We need to preserve the area because it’s the origin of our culture,” secretary of state at Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture, Chuch Phoeun, told AFP.
Angkor Wat was at one time the largest pre-industrial city in the world, and is considered one of the ancient wonders of the world.
It was constructed from the early to mid 1100s by King Suryavarman II at the height of the Khmer Empire’s political and military power.
MOSCOW: An ancient Vishnu idol has been found during excavation in an old village in Russiaâ€™s Volga region, raising questions about the prevalent view on the origin of ancient Russia. The idol found in Staraya (old) Maina village dates back to VII-X century AD. Staraya Maina village in Ulyanovsk region was a highly populated city 1700 years ago, much older than Kiev, so far believed to be the mother of all Russian cities.
“We may consider it incredible, but we have ground to assert that Middle-Volga region was the original land of Ancient Rus. This is a hypothesis, but a hypothesis, which requires thorough research,” Reader of Ulyanovsk State Universityâ’s archaeology department Dr Alexander Kozhevin told state-run television Vesti .
Dr Kozhevin, who has been conducting excavation in Staraya Maina for last seven years, said that every single square metre of the surroundings of the ancient town situated on the banks of Samara, a tributary of Volga, is studded with antiques.
Prior to unearthing of the Vishnu idol, Dr Kozhevin has already found ancient coins, pendants, rings and fragments of weapons.
He believes that todayâ’s Staraya Maina, a town of eight thousand, was ten times more populated in the ancient times. It is from here that people started moving to the Don and Dneiper rivers around the time ancient Russy built the city of Kiev, now the capital of Ukraine. An international conference is being organised later this year to study the legacy of the ancient village, which can radically change the history of ancient Russia.
Some Conclusions by others:
The discovery of an ancient Vishnu idol in an excavation in Russia only confirms certain ideas I have always had about the Vedic ancient and glorious land and culture.
The report says that the area in which the idol was found is called Staraya Maina. In the Rig Veda, there is a passage that goes, Itham ascati pasyat syantham, ekam starayath mainaa-kaalam. This translates into Staraya Maina is the name of the land of the 45 rivers (on whose banks the noble Rishis conducted the famous Horse Sacrifices), where the sun god descends into one fifty two forty seven. While the first line identifies a location, the second line talks about the exact latitude and longitude at which the solar spectrum produces interference lines at one, fifty two, and forty seven. The extreme precision of the calculations show the advanced science of the Vedic period, and also a thorough knowledge of SI units (it has been conclusively proven that French scientists stole the system from the Indians.
The discovery of the idol confirms the location in Russia, identified in the Rig Veda as rus soviath sapthamahanagaratham (the ancient and holy land of the 722 flying vehicles). The ancient connections between the Russians and the Indians has been unequivocally confirmed. In Russian orthodox Christianity, worship is conducted very much like in Vishnu temples. The Russians refer to the feast of Vizhnyir Ekoratsya Vikhunh, directly corresponding with Vaikhunda Ekhadasi.
The Russian language also owes a lot to Sanskrit, whose origins 50,000 years ago roughly correspond with the language of the people of the Smritzyi archaeological site, along the banks of the now-dried up Vernstokhlin (Varnasatyakhalini) river system.
It is common knowledge in the archaeological community that the Parashurama Sutra, the basis of all government policy in the erstwhile Kerala kingdom of Vaazhappazhaa, contains the lines Sthulyam Kaamyunishancha kalanam brighahaha. The links between the ancient Russians and Indians almost certainly aided by the 60,00 odd scholars of the University of Vexalate (Sk. Vekhshalatha, Ru. Vekholotsla), in modern-day Central Afghanistan, in the 17th Century BCE, is said to have transferred political ideas through the land of the Vanga (Ru. Vangnya) in modern-day West Bengal.
The Vishnu idol is depicted with a hammer in one left hand while the deconglated seventh arm on the right side holds a reticulated sickle. This hammer and sickle imagery is also found in the Parashurama Sutra, conclusively placing the origin of great and popular Russian political ideology in Vedic India.
The Bringdunthaladeena Upanishad also mentions Kaamyunishcham in its list of land sacrifices, where under the directions of the King, all the land in the country was donated to the performance of sacrifices where Brahmins continuously tickled horny silk-rats (Gandharvamooshicam) until they collapsed in orgiastic exhaustion. The text also clearly identifies a group of scholars referred to as the Paalita Buryam, who oversaw the functioning of the King.
For years, western historical study dominated by Greco-Capitalists, has sought to undermine the Vedic Indian contributions to what came to be 19th and 20th Century world politics. The Greco-Capitalists also attributed the ideology of Communism to the work done by Karl Marx, one of their own. It has been well documented that Marx indeed visited Kerala and West Bengal, and had thorough understanding of the Parashurama Sutra, a copy of which he picked up in the old-book-stall near the Cochin airport. Later on, as part of the larger Greco-centric Capitalist conspiracy, Marx took all the credit himself.
In 1952 in Soviet Russia, an archaeologist, Prof. Varely Smirzkoff of Odessa University found artefacts near the ancient Belarussian town of Kozhikodz. He was the first to speculate that the ruling political ideology of his country could well have had its origins in Vedic India rather than Modern Europe. Stalin funded Smirzkoffâ’s research until Smirrzkoff was suddenly found to have stolen over 500,000 paper clips from work over the course of his tenure at Odessa University. He was sent to Siberia, and with him went almost all academic proof that would have certainly brought Russia and India closer together.
This recent discovery should resurrect the pioneering work started by Prof. Varely Smirzkoff, who died of Contracted Poloniumitis of the nose, in 1964.
Ruling out the possibility of the two stellar objects being Sun and Moon (as they can never appear in such proximity in the sky as depicted in the carving), the scientists checked the possibility of a supernova that happened many thousands of light years away from Earth.The rock carving at Burzahom along with a sketch of the same. Source: Oldest sky-chart with Supernova record.
They searched the supernova catalogue to look for a possible supernova that could have had the brightness comparable to that of Sun or Moon between 2000 BC and 10,000 BC.
The etching is believed to have been done before 2000 BC and be visible from Burzahama. Only one Supernova remnant, HB9 dating around 3,600 BC, satisfied this condition.
A supernova can be observed even after hundreds and thousands of years after its occurrence, with the high-intensity X-rays continuing to radiate from the site. According to Vahia, the petroglyphs in the region dates back to 2,100 BC, and first recorded settlement in 4,100 BC.
Instead of the initial assumption of the petroglyph depicting a hunting scene, the scientists believe that etching could actually be a star chart depicting nearby constellations surrounding the supernova.
Scientists find 5,000-year-old rock art in India that could be the oldest depiction of a supernova
Imagine looking up at the sky one night and finding two moons. If it happened in 2017, Twitter would be abuzz with people posting photos. News channels would get astronomers to explain what’s happening, and they’d say it’s not a supernatural phenomenon but likely an exploding star – a supernova. Within hours, telescopes would have nailed down the exact star that suffered the dreadful fate. And then, likely for weeks to come, you’d be able to enjoy the presence of a very, very, very bright star in the sky.
Now imagine seeing the same sight 5,000 years ago. Nobody in your tribe has any clue why there’s suddenly an extra super-bright object in the night sky. There are no records, written or pictorial, to consult. However, curious as you and your tribemates might be, you aren’t going to risk asking someone in the rival tribe nearby. All you could do is wonder about the oddity – and perhaps try to represent it through your favorite artistic medium.
Scientists say this is likely what happened back in 3600 BC. Astrophysicist Mayank Vahia and his colleagues at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research believe a rock painting found in what is today part of the Kashmir region of South Asia is the oldest record of a supernova and likely the oldest sky chart ever drawn. The artwork shows two bright objects in the sky, with figures of animals and humans underneath. A study detailing the discovery has been published in the Indian Journal of History of Science . (Vahia also spoke about the discovery for the podcast The Intersection.)
Photograph of stone carving from Burzahom. (IGCNA)
Vahia began the study by taking many steps backwards. Rock art is difficult to date with precision, but Vahia had a solid starting point. The rock was buried in a wall (though hidden from view of residents) of a house that had already been dated to around 2100 BC. The oldest known settlement in the region was founded around 4100 BC. So the rock art is likely to have been made sometime between those two millennia – then inadvertently used to construct a new dwelling.
Next, Vahia needed to understand why someone would draw two bright objects in the sky. It couldn’t be two suns, because we have and have always had only one. It couldn’t be the sun and the moon, because although it’s possible to see both solar objects in the sky at the same time, a full moon can never appear so close to the sun. (From Earth, we see the moon as “full” when it’s on the direct opposite side the planet as the sun.) The only remaining explanation, Vahia figured, was a supernova: if one exploded relatively nearby our solar system (hundreds or few thousands of light years away), it could shine as bright as the sun or the moon.
Dr. Mayank Nalinkant Vahia. Photo credit: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons [Licensed under CC BY 3.0]
Of course, this explanation only makes sense if there actually was a supernova bright enough to have been visible on Earth between 4100 BC and 2100 BC. The good news was that Vahia had a way to accurately identify many of supernovas of the past thousands of years.
When a supernova explodes, it releases a lot of energy. The energy we can see with the naked eye – that is, visible light – is only a small fraction of what the explosion produces. The supernova continues to emit high-intensity X-rays for hundreds and thousands of years. Astronomers have been able to track down these supernova remnants and calculate when and how big the stellar explosion would have likely been.
With all constraints set, the database gave Vahia just one option: supernova HB9. It seemed to have all the right characteristics. It exploded around 3600 BC, and it’s about 2,600 light years away. At the time of its explosion, it would have appeared to Earthlings as a glowing ball (though not perfectly round) and just a little less bright than a full moon.
There’s even better proof to be found when you look more closely at the artwork. The figures underneath the supernova and the moon on the rock painting aren’t part of a hunting scene, as it might seem at first glance. Instead, Vahia’s analysis shows they neatly fit the constellations that surrounded the supernova: The man with the bow and arrow on the left is Orion the stag is Taurus the man on the right holding a spear is part of Pisces and the dog is the Andromeda galaxy. In other words, the rock art is likely a sky chart and, if it is, it would be the oldest sky chart on record.
Vahiya et al
There is just one problem. Working with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Vahia has studied many more pieces of rock art from the region, but couldn’t find any other sky charts. Though the rock art analysed here fits quite well with what the sky might have looked like back then, it could also be just a big coincidence. To prove it’s not, Vahia would need a second example. If the people in the region drew a star chart once, they must have drawn it many more times for other kinds of celestial events (such as comets passing or meteor showers).
That is why, on its own, Vahia’s rock painting isn’t enough to definitively prove itself to be the oldest human-made star chart and supernova record. Still, Vahia is confident that as more rock art emerges from the region, he will find the additional evidence needed to solidify the claim.
This article first appeared on Quartz.
5,000 Year Old Indian Rock Painting May Be Oldest Star Chart, Supernova Depiction
Rock art, dating back 5,000 years, was discovered in India and may be the oldest star chart ever, as well as the very first depiction of a supernova, according to Quartz India Sunday.
The art was discovered in the Kashmir region of Asia in Northern India. The rock art depicts a sky with two bright objects in it and figures of animals and humans below. The art reportedly dates back to between 2100 and 4100 BC. Initially, the animals and humans appear to be part of a hunting scene, but research by several scientists theorizes that the figures represent star patterns and that the two bright object are a sun or moon and a supernova.
The theory was published in the December issue of the Indian Journal of History of Science.
Astrophysicist Mayank Vahia and his colleagues at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research worked backward to see if there were any supernovas bright enough to be seen on the Earth in that time frame. A supernova is a giant stellar explosion when certain stars die. Supernovas emit X-Rays into the universe that allow researchers to date supernovas going back thousands of years.
Ancient art that could be oldest ever discovered sky chart. Photo: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts
Vahia discovered a supernova, HB9, that exploded around 3600 BC, placing it around the time the drawing was made. Vahia also theorizes that the drawings of human and animals are actually representations of constellations. A man with a bow, he surmises, represents Orion, a man holding a spear is part of Pisces, the deer they are attacking is Taurus and a dog is the Andromeda galaxy. The figures placement in the scene closely matches where these constellations are on a sky chart — making the drawing possibly the earliest example of a sky chart and first depiction of a supernova.
Vahia working with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is trying to find a second example of a sky chart from the region to corroborate his theory. While the elements of sky chart fit into the drawing, the lack of other sky charts from the period could mean that the researcher’s theory is just a coincidence. If ancient people drew one sky chart, it's likely they drew another.
Vahia is confident that more artwork to emerge from the region will corroborate his discovery.
12,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs in India Depict Sacred Symbols of Global Importance
A huge 14.5 metre long and 12 metre wide petroglyph depicting an elephant and other animals in Konkan, Maharashtra, India.
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One of the most significant archaeological finds of recent times was the discovery of hundreds of petroglyphs (rock carvings), in the Ratnagiri and Rajapur area of the state of Maharashtra in western India. The petroglyphs have been etched on the rusty-red coloured laterite rocks that dominate the flat hilltops of the Konkan coastline. On Oct 1, 2018, the BBC ran a story about these petroglyph finds, which brought the matter to worldwide attention. 1
1: Ratnagiri, Maharashtra on the Konkan coastline
“Our first deduction from examining these petroglyphs is that they were created around 10,000 BC,” Director of the Maharashtra State Archaeology Department, Tejas Garge, told the BBC. In other archaeological sites, the petroglyph style of art is associated with tools from the Mesolithic period. Mesolithic tools have also been found at a petroglyph site in the village of Kasheli in Ratnagiri. 2 This puts the date of creation of these rock carved images at the very beginning of the post-glacial period, when humanity had just emerged from the cataclysms of the Younger Dryas epoch.
While some of the petroglyphs were known to the locals who treated them with reverence, most of them were hidden beneath layers of mud and soil deposited during the intervening millennia. The 52 sites where the petroglyphs lie have been identified over the past 6 years or so by a group of explorers led by Sudhir Risbood and Manoj Marathe, who have a deep interest in the history, architecture, flora and fauna of the Konkan region.
A large elephant petroglyph from Ratnagiri
Many of the petroglyphs are not rudimentary scratches on the ground but large carvings executed with a lot of detail. Tejas Garge told the BBC that they might have been created by hunter-gatherer tribes, on account of the numerous images that depict animals, birds and sea creatures. 3 However, the petroglyphs also include complex geometric forms and intriguing human figures, whose meanings remain unclear.
When I looked at the images in the BBC News report and then in a video on the BBC News Marathi TV channel, 4 I was astonished to see sacred symbols found in the art and culture of many civilisations. Let’s take a look at them and reflect on their significance and implications.
The Winged Scarab
One large petroglyph depicts the Winged Scarab, a popular ancient Egyptian symbol associated with creation and rebirth.
The Egyptians called the scarab beetle Khepri (“He who is Coming into Being”) and worshiped it as the “dawn sun” on the eastern horizon. Just as the scarab beetle pushes its dung ball out of the sand and rolls it along the ground, Khepri pushed the sun disk upwards from the Underworld and rolled it across the sky every day. 5
Ratnagiri petroglyph depicting the Egyptian Winged Scarab
4: Ancient Egyptian jewellery depicting the winged scarab beetle housed in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. By Ca.garcia.s CC BY-SA 4.0
The winged scarab can be seen on Egyptian tomb paintings, carvings, and manuscripts. From the Middle Kingdom (c.2055 – c.1650 BCE) onwards the scarab-form amulet was very popular, and featured on bracelets and necklaces. Scarabs were used as funerary talismans, and were placed over the heart of the deceased to keep it from confessing sins when the heart was judged by the gods of the underworld. 6
The visual similarity between the petroglyph and the ancient Egyptian symbol of the Winged Scarab is quite striking. In the aerial view of the petroglyph we can clearly discern all the features of the Winged Scarab, including the sun-disk.
It boggles the mind to think that the Winged Scarab symbol, which was so popular in ancient Egypt, has been existence since the very beginning of the post-glacial epoch. How did such esoteric concepts and symbolic imagery appear at such an early age?
Surely, this could not have been the work of primitive hunter-gatherers. Who carved these remarkable petroglyphs, and for what purpose?
Is it possible that the Winged Scarab symbol encodes the cosmic wisdom of an erstwhile “Golden Age” civilisation that perished during the cataclysms of the Younger Dryas period (10,900 BCE – 9700 BCE) when our planet was struck by multiple fragments of a giant comet?
It is now well known that a Younger Dryas cosmic impact initiated a vicious cold snap, accompanied by fires, floods, and black rain, which brought about the extinction of a large number of North American megafauna and a North American prehistoric culture. 7 Around 9703 BCE, the cold snap ended as abruptly as it had started, for reasons not clearly understood. 8 The sudden transition out of the Ice Age to a warm interglacial climate may have precipitated a global flood of mythic proportions, which is recounted in the flood legends of many ancient cultures.
The Master of Animals
Another exquisite petroglyph discovered at Ratnagiri depicts a man who appears to be holding two animals by their hind legs. This is a symbolic motif in ancient art that is commonly referred to by scholars as the ‘Master of Animals’ or ‘Lord of Animals’. The Master of Animals is generally depicted as a human standing between and grasping two animals with both hands, “implying both dominance and protection”. 9
a 12,000-year old petroglyph in India depicts the Master of Animals
5: c. 9th or 8th century BC bronze quiver cover from Mesopotamia/western Iran, featuring the Master of Animals. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. CC0 1.0.
The motif has a long presence in Mesopotamian art, and has been documented since the Uruk Period through to the early first millennium BCE. 10 The Mistress of Animals (Potnia Theron) motif, in which the central figure is a female, can be seen in ancient Minoan, Mycenaean, Greek and Etruscan art. The figures are often depicted with wings, holding animals in both hands. It is not known what significance such figures had in the different ages and cultures, or whether they represent the same entity. 11
6: c. 7th century BC gold pendant from Greece, depicting the Mistress of Animals. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. CC0 1.0.
Another Ratnagiri petroglyph shows the Master of Animals in a slightly different pose. Here, he is seen grappling with two large animals, possibly tigers. This is a symbol that appears on a number of Indus Valley seals from c.2600 BCE which depict a powerful male figure grasping two tigers by the throat with bare hands. 12
Petroglyph in Ratnagiri, India, from c.10,000 BCE
c. 2,500-1900 BC steatite seal from Mohenjo-daro, Indus Valley
Similar scenes of dominance over animals can be seen on Mesopotamian cylinder seals, where the tiger is replaced by lions. One of the earliest representations of the Master of Animals grasping a pair of lions appears on the Gebel el-Arak knife that dates back to c.3450 BCE, which was the beginning of the Naqada II period of Egyptian prehistory.
9: Gebel el-Arak Knife, Egypt, c.3300 – 3200 BC, now at the Louvre, Paris. Credit: Rama CC BY-SA 2.0
The different depictions of the Master of Animals symbol seem to exude a sense of enormous physical strength and courage. Perhaps, this was an ancient icon of superhuman strength, used in the context of gods, heroes, or kings.
The Astrological Symbols of Pisces and Aquarius
Another intriguing petroglyph discovered at Ratnagiri depicts a pair of fish facing opposite directions, connected by a strap or band. This symbol has been used for millennia to depict the Pisces constellation.
The Pisces astrological symbol consists of a pair of fish swimming in opposite directions, with a chord or band connecting the two fish, so that they remain together. The modern glyph for Pisces can be seen to derive directly from this 12,000-year-old petroglyph.
12,000 year old petroglyph in India depicting the Pisces constellation
11: Ancient Roman relief of Pisces, probably reused in the 12th century AD in the North tower of Brauweiler Abbey Church, Germany. It was removed in 1960. On permanent loan to Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn. CC BY-SA 4.0
12: Modern glyph representing Pisces
As per current wisdom, Pisces is one of the earliest zodiac signs on record, appearing on an Egyptian coffin lid from c. 2300 BCE. 13 However, the discovery of this 12,000-year-old petroglyph pushes back the date for the origin of astrological symbols to the period around 10,000 BCE or earlier, and raises the possibility that our astrological knowledge is a legacy of a lost civilisation that flourished during the Ice Age.
The discovery of the Pisces symbol made me wonder if any of the other petroglyphs of the Ratnagiri area depict other signs of the zodiac. And, quite fortuitously, I noticed another petroglyph that resembles the astrological symbol for the Aquarius constellation.
This petroglyph shows a man holding an object above his head with both hands, looking similar to Aquarius, the water bearer, who pours out a stream of water from a water jar held above their head (or on the shoulder).
Aquarius is located in a region of the sky called the Sea, and early stargazers associated the star patterns here with fish swimming in the celestial Sea. 14 To the right of the person (on the left side of the image) we see a pair of fish, which have been depicted at the exact position occupied by the zodiac sign of Pisces the fish. Another pair of fish can be seen near the left leg of the person, corresponding to the position of the constellation Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish.
Ratnagiri Petroglyph depicting the astrological symbol of Aquarius
What we seem to have here is an astonishing sky chart etched on the ground, depicting the constellations of Aquarius the water bearer, bounded by Pisces the fish and Piscis Austrinus the southern fish.
While there may be additional petroglyphs in the Ratnagiri area that depict other signs of the zodiac, it is a curious coincidence that the first two constellations that caught my eye were those of Pisces the fish and Aquarius the water bearer. According to the doctrine of the astrological ages, we are currently in the age of Pisces, and are about to transition into the age of Aquarius.
A Lost Ice-Age Civilisation
The very fact that the petroglyphs of Ratnagiri have been dated to c.10,000 BCE, when humanity had just emerged from the terrible devastation of the Younger Dryas epoch, suggests that these symbols may not have been devised by the people who carved them. Rather, they might encapsulate the esoteric wisdom of an advanced civilisation that flourished during the Ice Age, and perished during the Younger Dryas cataclysms.
The survivors of this “lost civilisation” would have settled at many places around the globe, one place being the Konkan coast of India. Here, they etched their sacred symbols on the hard, rocky landscape, which could have transformed into open-air altars.
One of the mysteries of the Ratnagiri petroglyphs, which the BBC report has pointed out, is that they show animals such as the hippopotamus which is not indigenous to India. I noticed that there is at least one petroglyph that looks like a kangaroo! It is well known that the kangaroo is indigenous to Australia, and is not found anywhere else in the world.
Ratnagiri Petroglyph may be depicting a kangaroo
This begs the question as to how the people living here depicted animals that are not indigenous to India. Did these people have oceanic contact with Africa and Australia? Could it be that the hippo and the kangaroo were found in India 12,000 years ago? Or could there be some other explanation for this anomaly?
It is at times like these that we should pay more attention to the legends of our ancestors. Tamil traditions tell us of an antediluvian island-continent called Kumari Kandam that once existed in the Indian Ocean. However, at the end of the Golden Age, Kumari Kandam was “swallowed by the sea,” and large tracts of the island-continent were lost to the ocean. N. Mahalingam, the Chairman of the International Association of Tamil Studies, has dated this inundation to c.9564 BCE. 15 This is very close to the end of the Younger Dryas epoch which ravaged our planet for an extended period from c. 10,900 BCE – c. 9600 BCE.
Is it possible that the ecosphere of Kumari Kandam supported animals such as hippos and kangaroos, and when the island sank under the ocean, some of its inhabitants settled on the western coast of India and etched memories of their erstwhile homeland and sacred symbols onto these flat, rocky, hilltops?
More petroglyphs were discovered in 2002, in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, roughly 50 km south of the petroglyph sites of Rajapur.
The Sindhudurg Petroglyphs
In 2002, nearly 60 petroglyphs were found in two villages of the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. The discovery was made by a team led by trekker and rock art enthusiast Satish Lalit. Here, too, as in Ratnagiri, the petroglyphs depict animals, birds, human figures and geometric forms. These were tentatively dated to the Neolithic, between 7000 BCE – 4000 BCE. 16
From the photographs published in The Metrognome, I could identify two petroglyphs that bear a striking resemblance to well-known symbols of antiquity. One of the petroglyphs resembles the Imperial Eagle symbol, which has served as an insignia of royalty and has been displayed on the coat of arms of many nations throughout history.
Sindhudurg Petroglyph depicting the Imperial Eagle symbol
The Aquila or eagle was a prominent symbol in ancient Rome and was used as the Roman Legion Standard. It probably derives from the Aetos Dios – the giant, golden eagle that served as Zeus’s personal messenger and animal companion. 17 In Egypt, the falcon was the bird-form of the solar god Horus, and it was depicted with outstretched wings above the head of the pharaoh, conferring him with divine protection. 18 The eagle continues to be displayed on the coat of arms of many European nations, including Germany, Poland and Romania.
In India and the countries of South-east Asia, the solar bird Garuda was the eagle-mount of Lord Vishnu, the supreme deity associated with the preservation of the created order. Garuda has been used as a symbol of royalty for centuries, and continues to be used as a martial motif by the armed forces of India and as a national emblem of Indonesia and Thailand.
Another petroglyph in Sindhudurg depicts a man standing with a staff in either hand, resembling the Staff God of the Andean cultures. The Andean Staff God is generally pictured holding a staff in each hand, with fanged teeth, and snakes either in his headdress or garments. 19
Sindhudurg Petroglyph depicting the Staff God
The Incans identified the Staff God with Viracocha, their supreme god. He was the father of all other Inca gods and it was he who formed the earth, heavens, sun, moon, and all living beings. According to legends, Viracocha travelled far and wide, bringing the arts of civilisation to humanity. After his work was done, he headed west across the Pacific on a raft, promising to return one day to the Inca. 20
The oldest known depiction of the Andean Staff God was found in 2003 on some broken gourd fragments dated to c.2250 BCE, 21 meaning that this Sindhudurg petroglyph predates the earliest known depiction of the Staff God by thousands of years.
Evidently, the petroglyphs of the Konkan region of Maharashtra, stretching from Ratnagiri in the north to Sindhudurg in the south, contain some of the earliest depictions of the sacred symbols used by cultures across the ancient and modern worlds. This pushes back the date for the beginnings of astrological lore and sacred symbolisms to the remote period of c.10,000 BCE, when humanity had just emerged from the terrible cataclysms of the Younger Dryas epoch.
This raises the possibility that the Konkan belt was a place where survivors of an advanced Ice-Age civilisation settled and etched their sacred wisdom onto the rocky landscapes. More research must be undertaken to ascertain if and why the petroglyphs resemble hippos and kangaroos.
Due to the far-reaching implications of these symbols, the dating of the petroglyphs to the period of around 10,000 BCE is bound to come under scrutiny. More studies employing different scientific dating techniques such as radiocarbon dating, and thermoluminescence dating must be undertaken on the petroglyphs.
This analysis is based on a small sample of petroglyph images contained in the BBC report and a video on the BBC News Marathi TV Channel. The hundreds of petroglyphs found in the Ratnagiri and Rajapur area must be studied with a view to identifying correlations with sacred symbols across various ancient cultures.
There is no doubt that this is an extremely significant discovery which can fundamentally alter our current perceptions about the origins of sacred symbols and astrological lore.
12,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs in India show Global Connections
While some of the petroglyphs were known to the locals and regarded as holy, most of them were hidden beneath layers of mud and soil deposited during the intervening millenia. They were discovered due to the diligent efforts of a group of explorers led by Sudhir Risbood and Manoj Marathe, who began searching for the images in earnest after observing a few in the area.
When I looked at these pictures, I was astonished to find 3 images which depict sacred symbols of global importance, which have been found in the art and culture of many subsequent civilizations.
This large petroglyph depicts what appears to be the Winged Scarab, a symbol that was very popular in ancient Egypt and symbolized creation and rebirth. The symbol appears on Egyptian tomb paintings, carvings, and manuscripts. Miniature scarabs carved from stone or moulded from faience were worn as amulets and jewelry, and used as impression seals.
|Fig 2: Petroglyph in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India, depicting the Winged Scarab. Source: bbc.com|
The Egyptians called the scarab beetle Khepri (“He who has come into being”) and worshiped it as the “dawn sun”. There is a story of how the goddess Isis tricked the sun-god Ra into revealing his many names: Khepri (dawn sun), Ra (mid-day sun) and Atum (evening sun).
Just as the scarab beetle pushes or rolls a ball of dung across the earth, Khepri pushed the sun across the sky every day. The ancient Egyptians believed that Khepri renewed the sun every day before rolling it above the horizon, then carried it through the other world after sunset, only to renew it, again, the next day. This reinforced the scarab’s association with creation and rebirth.
The visual similarity between the petroglyph discovered in India, and the Egyptian symbol of the Winged Scarab or Khepri is quite striking. Although the “sun-disk” being pushed by the scarab is not very clear in this image, it can be made out from the aerial view shown below.
|Fig 4: Aerial view of the Ratnagiri Petroglyph depicting the Winged Scarab. Source: bbc.com|
It is now well known that Younger Dryas comet impact initiated a vicious cold snap, accompanied by fires, floods, and black rain, which brought about the extinction of a large number of North American megafauna and a prehistoric culture. In 9703 BCE, the cold snap ended as abruptly as it had started, for reasons not clearly understood. The sudden transition out of the Ice Age to a warm interglacial climate may have precipitated a global flood of mythic proportions, which is recounted in the flood legends of many ancient cultures.
|Fig 7: Horus standing on crocodiles and holding a lion and a jackal by their tail, along with scorpions and serpents, An Egyptian Faience Cippus, 304-30 BCE. Source: www.christies.com |
|Fig 8: A relief of the Master of Animals from Mesopotamia. 9th - 8th century BCE. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Source: www.my-favourite-planet.de|
|Fig 9: Mistress of Animals holding in each hand a lion by its tail. Gold plaque pendant. Kamiros, Rhodes, 720-650 BCE. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Source: www.my-favourite-planet.de|
|Fig 10: Ratnagiri Petroglyph showing a figure lifting up a pair of tigers. Source: bbc.com|
|Fig 11: Mohenjo-Daro seal depicting a man grappling with two tigers. Source: www.harappa.com|
|Fig 12: Master of Animals depicted on the Gebel el-Arak knife, c.3300-3200 BC, Abydos, Egypt. Source: Wikimedia Commons / ALFGRN CC BY-SA 2.0|
|Fig 13: Chalcedony cylinder seal showing a divine hero wrestling two bulls from the Neo-Babylonian period, late 8th-7th century BCE. Source: Yale Babylonian Collection|
The depiction of this motif on 12,000-year-old Indian petroglyphs indicates that the symbol had its origin in remote antiquity, and was used by an Ice Age civilization to represent its heroes. Did the people of this time really have such immense physical strength, so as to subdue two large wild animals with their bare hands? If so, it would lend credence to the assertions of our ancestors that human beings have reduced in stature and strength , as we "devolved" from the Golden Age to our current age of discord and strife known as the Kali Yuga (or Iron Age) in the ancient Hindu texts.
|Fig 14: 12,000-year-old petroglyphs of Ratanagiri, India, depict the Master of Animals|
|Fig 15: Ratnagiri Petroglyph depicting the Pisces constellation. Source: bbc.com|
|Fig 16: Roman era relief carving of Pisces symbol. Credit: Kleon3 CC BY-SA 4.0|
As per current wisdom, the earliest representation of the zodiac sign of Pisces appears on an Egyptian coffin lid from c. 2300 BCE. It is also believed that knowledge of the zodiac signs and astrological predictions began sometime during the Bronze Age in Mesopotamia.
However, the discovery of this petroglyph changes all of that. It pushes back the date for the origin of astrological symbols to the period around 10,000 BCE or earlier, and raises the very real possibility that our astrological knowledge is a legacy of a lost civilization that flourished during the Ice Age.
|Fig 19: 12000-year-old petroglyph of Ratnagiri, India, depicting the astrological symbol of Aquarius.|
Other explanations are also possible. As some legends state, there could have been an antediluvian kingdom in the Indian Ocean that supported animals such as hippos and kangaroos, and when the island-continent sank under the ocean, some of its inhabitants settled on the western coast of India and etched their memories of their erstwhile homeland on these flat, rocky hill tops.
Overall, these ancient petroglyphs have the potential of completely overturning the current beliefs regarding the origins of civilization. There are hundreds of petroglyphs in the Ratnagiri area which depict animal and human figures, as well as complex geometric forms, which could help us unlock the mysteries of humanity's past.
Earlier in 2002, nearly 60 petroglyphs were discovered in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra in the Konkan (coastal) region, which were tentatively dated to between 7000 BCE – 4000 BCE.  One of the images found here resembles the “Imperial Eagle” symbol which has served as an insignia of royalty and has been displayed on the Coat of Arms of many nations throughout history.
|Fig 21: 9000-year-old Sindhudurg petroglyph depicting the Imperial Eagle symbol.|
Another petroglyph in Sindhudurg depicts a man standing with a staff in either hand, resembling the Staff God of the Andean cultures. The Andean Staff God is generally pictured holding a staff in each hand, with fanged teeth, having snakes in his headdress or integrated into his garments.
|Fig 22: 9000-year-old Sindhudurg petroglyph depicting the Staff God of the Andes|
The oldest known depiction of the Andean Staff God was found in 2003 on some broken gourd fragments dated to c.2250 BCE, which means that this Sindhudurg petroglyph predates the earliest known depiction of the Staff God by thousands of years.
Evidently, the petroglyphs of the Konkan region of Maharashtra, stretching from Ratnagiri in the north to Sindhudurg in the south, contain some of the earliest depictions of the sacred symbols used by ancient cultures around the world. The dating of these petroglyphs to around 10,000 BCE, on the basis of some Mesolithic tools found at the site, pushes back the date for the beginnings of astrological lore and sacred symbolisms to the beginning of the Holocene epoch, when humanity had just emerged from the cataclysms of the Younger Dryas period.
Old European culture
Rock art is difficult to date with precision, but Vahia had a solid starting point. The rock was buried in a wall (though hidden from view of residents) of a house that had already been dated to around 2100 BC. This suggests that its importance had been lost to the people by then and the stone had been reused for another structure.
The oldest known settlement in the region was founded around 4100 BC. So the rock art is likely to have been made sometime between those two millennia—then inadvertently used to construct a new dwelling.
The drawing shows what at first glance appears to be hunters and animals beneath a sky with not one but two bright sun-like objects. Because the sun and the full moon never appear that close together in the sky, Indian astrophysicist Mayank Vahia and his team at Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research have introduced a theory that the picture does not represent two suns, but instead a moon and a supernova, a star exploding some hundreds or thousands of light years away.
Based on data collected by astronomers, Vahia was able pinpoint one supernova from the time period, that matched the period during which the mysterious drawing was made. This is supernova HB9 which exploded around 3,600 BC. The supernova would have been large and bright enough to have been seen from earth and would have been comparable in brightness to the moon.
Interestingly, the mysterious drawing seems to not only depict the moon and the supernova, but also the surrounding stars. The other figures aren’t part of a hunting scene, but instead represent the nearby constellations. This makes the whole painting, in effect, likely one of the earliest star charts.
“The whole hunting scene along with the Moon and the Supernova fits quite well into the pattern of stars in the sky,” wrote Vahia in a paper for the Indian Journal of History of Science. “The image of one of the hunters coincides with the Orion the central stag is same as the Taurus. The hunter on the right may have been formed from stars of Cetus and other animal on the right may be Andromeda and Pegasus. The long, curved line in the carving, traditionally interpreted as spear, may well be an arc of bright stars.”
Well this is quite interesting. If this theory is correct, the rock art would also be the world’s oldest-known sky chat recording a particular event (a super nova explosion). It could, of course, be a coincidence.
One thing that I don't understand is i t's hard to see why the ancients might have depicted the Moon in this self-evidently solar manner. So I would say that the above drawing probably depicts two suns: our sun and another shining sun like object, like a very bright supernova, which would have turned the night into a day and was also visible during the day. We know that there are supernovae which can be so bright that they can be be seen during the day. Some of these ultra bright supernovae exploded in historical times and we have the records of them. For instance, supernova SN 1054 was was one such supernova. It was widely observed throughout the world, with Arab, Chinese, and Japanese astronomers recording the star's appearance in 1054 CE. There are also a lot of documents from Europe which are by some believed to be the records of the sighting of this supernova. It may also have been recorded by the Anasazi as a petroglyph. This explosion appeared in the constellation of Taurus, where it produced the Crab Nebula remnant. At its peak, the luminosity of SN 1054 may have been four times as bright as Venus, and it remained visible in daylight for 23 days and was visible in the night sky for 653 days.
So is it possible that what the artist in Burzahom wanted to depict is "two suns", one being our normal sun and the other being the supernova? Well I believe so.
There is just one problem. Working with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Vahia has studied many more pieces of rock art from the region, but couldn’t find any other sky charts. Though the rock art analyzed here fits quite well with what the sky might have looked like back then, it could also be just a big coincidence. To prove it’s not, Vahia would need a second example. If the people in the region drew a star chart once, they must have drawn it many more times for other kinds of celestial events (such as comets passing or meteor showers).
That is why, on its own, Vahia’s rock painting isn’t enough to definitively prove itself to be the oldest human-made star chart and supernova record.
Well, there might not have be any more "two suns" drawings found in Kashmir, but there are a lot of almost identical "two suns" drawings found in Europe. And they also feature Orion and a deer.
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the Burzahom drawing was Los Millares, more precisely the bowls from Los Millares with th e two sun like objects which look very very much like the two sun eyes:
In order to explain the common features shared by Sanskrit and other Indo-European languages, the Indo-Aryan migration theory states that the original speakers of what became Sanskrit arrived in the Indian subcontinent from the north-west some time during the early second millennium BCE. Evidence for such a theory includes the close relationship between the Indo-Iranian tongues and the Baltic and Slavic languages
And right there, in the "north-west" we find the Burzahom archaeological site and the stone with two suns and Orion hunting deer.
I ended my post about the Los Millares bowls with the question: Did the same people make Los Millares bowls and write Rigveda? Or did two different people, one in Europe and one in North India, who both lived at the time when Orion marked the period of the deer rut, independently marked this in their own way: the Los Millares people by drawing Orion constellation as part of the deer rutting scene, and the creators of Rigveda by naming Orion Mriga - Deer?
In my post about Los Millares bowls I proposed that the two suns were used to depict the link between the sun's light and the sight. But what if the reason why both Los Millares and Burzahom people drew two suns was less poetic and more prosaic: They depicted two suns in the sky because they saw two suns in the sky, our normal sun and something else that looked like a sun, like supernova.
Well there is a problem with this prosaic explanation. HB9 supernova exploded around 3,600 BC. This is way too early for Los Millares.
Los Millares s ite was occupied between around 3200 BC and 1800 BC. So the second sun depicted on their ware can't be HB9. So what is it? Is the poetic explanation the only possible explanation for Los Millares two suns? And if so, it is entirely possible that the same symbolism was used in Burzahom and the two suns depicted on the deer hunting scene represent the sun god who sees all and who also allows us to see.
This is the Victory Stele of Naram-Sin currently kept in Louvre museum.
The stele dates to approximately 2254-2218 BC, in the time of the Akkadian Empire. The relief measures six feet in height and was carved in pink limestone. The official explanation for the scene says that it depicts the King Naram-Sin of Akkad leading the Akkadian army to victory over the mountain people, the Lullubi.
The Wikipedia page about this artefact says that the stele is unique in two regards:
1. Most conquest depictions are shown horizontally, with the King being at the top-center. This stele depicts the victory in a diagonal fashion with the King still being at the top-center but where everyone else can look up to him.
2. King Naram-Sin is shown wearing a bull-horned helmet or shown as the face of lion. Helmets of this type at the time when this stele was commissioned were only worn by the Gods. This stele is in essence telling the viewer that Naram-Sin is a victorious conqueror as a result of his divine status.
What the Wikipedia page about this artefact does not f ind unique or strange is the fact that at the top of the stele there is a depiction of two suns. The Wikipedia page interprets these two suns as "two stars" and says:
But it (the stele) also shows Naram-Sin gazing up toward two stars. Showing that although Naram-Sin is a god, a feat that was up to this point only achieved by deceased kings, he is still not the most powerful of gods.
However the page dedicated to the Victory Stele from Louvre - Department of Near Eastern Antiquities: Mesopotamia, says this about the two suns:
. the conqueror's gaze is directed toward the top of the mountain. Above Naram-Sin, solar disks seem to radiate their divine protection toward him, while he rises to meet them.
So solar discs. Two solar discs. Two suns.
And no one finds this funny or strange?
Well this is very very interesting. Were Akkadians poetic or prosaic? Did they use the same symbolic depiction of two "sun eyes" to depict the the link between the sun light and sight or did they depict what they saw in the sky: two suns?
What is amazing about the Victory stele is that it can be dated, more or less precisely to the period 2254-2218 BC .
This dating actually fits rather well with the dating for the Burzahom dwelling whose wall contained the drawing of the two suns (2100 BC). It is possible that the Burzahom carving was also done during the period 2254-2218 BC . If the bow-carrying hunter from the Burzahom drawing is interpreted as Orion, then the bow carrying Naram-Sin can also be interpreted as Orion. Both figures are orientated in relation to the two suns in a very similar way. Is this a coincidence?