A London furniture conservator has made a critical discovery as to why Ice Age hunter gatherers drew cave paintings dating back 20,000 years ago.
Ben Bacon spent hours on the internet and analysed hordes of British Library pictures of cave paintings and drawings.
The drawings have stumped archaeologists but after analysing the paintings, Mr Bacon then concluded that they could refer to a lunar calendar.
In particular, he examined a ‘Y’ sign which he felt might be for giving birth as it showed one line growing out from another.
He then amassed as much data as possible before collaborating with two professors from Durham University, and one from University College London.
After further investigation, they realised the three dots next to the animal paintings were a reference to reproductive cycles in what Mr Bacon called a “surreal” discovery.
Professor Paul Pettitt, of Durham University, said: “The results show that Ice Age hunter-gatherers were the first to use a systemic calendar and marks to record information about major ecological events within that calendar.
“In turn, we’re able to show that these people, who left a legacy of spectacular art in the caves of Lascaux, and Altamira, also left a record of early timekeeping that would eventually become commonplace among our species.”