CroMagnon Cave Art Depicting a Pregnant Mare Running Through Wild Wheat
Deriving from such sources as 'Secrets of the Ice Age' (Cited in Bibliography below), there are several lines of evidence that Cro-Magnon Man had domesticated animals thousands of years earlier than is generally
believed. At sites in France, engravings of horses -- estimated to be 15,000 years old -- have been found with what appear to be harnesses represented on them. Even more interesting are the fossilized teeth of some horses that lived in northern France about 30,000 years ago. These teeth show a distinctive pattern of wear, called "crib-biting," normally seen only in domesticated horses, kept penned in wooden stalls so that the horses chew on the stall walls out of nervousness or frustration.
The Atlantis Quest site based on the researches of R. Cedric Leonard is one of the better sites dealing with the subject: I waited for several years wanting to speak to Leonard but when we discussed a few things-such as I have been outlining on these blog postings-he angrily told me never to bother him again. However, here is his discussion on the CroMagnon domestication of the horse at http://www.atlantisquest.com/Taming.html
Domestication of the Horse
Przewalski horses grazing in pasture. The 30,000-year-old Aurignacian cave paintings of horses discovered in southwest France (Les Espelungues, et al.) seem to resemble the present day Przewalski Horse. Smaller than most domestic horse species, the Przewalski horses of western Mongolia weigh between 440 and 750 pounds, standing 48 to 56 inches high. They have stocky bodies, large heads, thick necks, and upright manes.
Competing theories exist as to the time and place of horse domestication. The earliest direct evidence for the domestication of the horse comes from Central Asia and dates to approximately 4,500 B.C. Since the horse did not change so radically (as did the wolf) due to domestication, it presents a special problem; thus when it comes to genetics the domestication of the horse is quite different to that of other livestock. (Bailey, Charles & Winder, 2000)
Studies have indicated that the genetic diversity among domestic horses is extensive, suggesting multiple events of domestication from genetically diverse populations, as well as different locations. One recent genetic study provides a much more detailed picture of how humans tamed and domesticated wild horses, indicating that it took many animals (mares) from many locations to form the breeds we see today.
The genetic material studied thus far implies that a majority of equine maternal genetic diversity must have been incorporated into the breeding stock at the time of domestication. Making certain assumptions, this study suggests that a minimum of seventy-seven wild mares would be required to explain the genetic diversity observed. (Ellegren, 1998)
Archeologically, several other problems are involved. Organic materials such as leather and wood are rarely recovered from such aged archaeological sites; and given unfavorable soil conditions, even bone itself is often destroyed. Another problem is that it is possible to ride a horse without the use of a saddle or bridle; and during the early stages of horse domestication, it is likely that they were usually ridden that way.
Some researchers see the possibility of it occurring at least as far back as the Pleistocene Epoch. Dr. Stanley J. Olsen, professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, notes that the numerous images found on the walls of cave and rock shelters of Paleolithic Europe imply a close relationship between the Upper Paleolithic Europeans and Equus przewalskii. (Olsen, 1984)
On its own no one type of indirect data can provide satisfactory evidence of horse domestication. Indirect evidence must have corroboration from as many directions as possible. (Levine, 1999) However, one important form of indirect evidence can be found in Paleolithic art. There is at least one Upper Paleolithic image of a horse and rider which would place horse domestication back into Atlantean times (Perrin, 1983).
Oldest known representation of an ancient rider on horseback.
Original line drawing by Abbe Breuil from the Trois Frères site
(a Magdalenian period grotto in Ariège, France; Perrin, 1983).
Among the artistic depictions of horses, beginning with the Aurignacian period more than 30,000 years ago and continuing down through the Azilian period, numerous engravings include lines which look for all the world like bridles. This is strong evidence in favor of the domestication of the horse during those early times. But due to the aforementioned problems, we are just as unsure that it was not a lot earlier than this.
Paleolithic engravings showing horses with straps and bridles
The bone and antler engravings of horses pictured here all have been carbon-dated to the Magdalenian period, circa. 14,000 to 10,000 B.C. Dozens of such carvings have been found in the caves of Southwestern France (Lasceau, Les Eyzies, etc.). It sure looks like bridles and straps are being depicted in these carvings, indicating that humans had brought them under their control.
Cave drawings dating circa 15,000 B.C. have also been discovered depicting horses with bridles at St. Michel d'Arudy, at the Grotte de Marsoulas, and at La Marche, France (all in Western Europe).
A claim, first advanced in the 1870s and recently revived by Paul Bahn, a British scholar, is that bone and antler objects known as batons de commandement may represent intregal parts of animal bridles. Such objects are usually made of a slim, curved bone or antler, which has a hole drilled through the larger end. Although the earliest Aurignacian batons are devoid of surface decoration, by Magdalenian times many were finely decorated with carvings of horses or reindeer. (Bahn, 1976)
A young British/American archeologist, Evan Hadingham (1979) of the University of Sheffield notes: "The Magdalenian carvers seem to have delighted in the difficulties of decorating the narrow, rounded surfaces with a fine tracery of complex and well-proportioned amimal forms." And these were usually reindeer or horses. The quality of the carvings can only be appreciated when a "pressing" is rolled out into a flat plane.
A number of Upper Paleolithic sites are scattered throughout the peninsula of Greece: among them Kastritsa, Asprochaliko, Seidi Cave, and Franchthi Cave. Of these the latter seems to have the most complete sequence of strata, beginning some 20,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic, continuing through the Mesolithic, and into the Neolithic of only 5,000 years ago. Horse bones have turned up in a number of such sites.
While excavating Franchthi Cave near the Bay of Argos, in the lowest stratum dating from 20,000 years, Dr. Jacobsen discovered sheep, goat, cattle, pig, and horse bones. Although he expresses doubt that these represented domesticated species, there were no doubts expressed about those found in the early Mesolithic strata directly above. These bones, he observed, were without doubt those of "domesticated varieties". (Jacobsen, 1976) Similar finds have been made throughout the area.
This overall picture is supported by excavations carried out by British, Greek, and German archaeologists in Epirus, Corfu, Boeotia, and the Peloponnese. The main evidence for Late Palaeolithic activity in these areas is largely in the form of flint tools, animal bones, and occasional ornaments made from teeth or bone.
Animal domestication during the Late Paleolithic may not be limited to the horse and dog. Unlike sheep or goats, the domestication of both horses and reindeer result in no obvious physical changes. At Isturitz Cave in French Basque country, in the Magdalenian levels, the leg bone of a reindeer was unearthed bearing evidence of a serious fracture that had healed. It was estimated that the animal had lived for at least two years following the fracture. (Hadingham, 1979) What are the chances of this animal having evaded predators for such an extended period, unless it had been tamed and protected?
Hadingham points out that, while maintaining a certain aloofness, reindeer are nevertheless subject to human control once becoming dependent on human care (like a pet), even to the point of answering to its name when called. This has been clearly demonstrated by the tribesmen of Northern Tungus in Siberia, among other places.
The presence of goat, sheep and horse bones in cave sites as early as the Late Paleolithic should tell us something. The bones are not charred, and there are no hearths. People of the Magdalenian period lived in houses, not in caves (although deep caves were often used for ritualistic purposes). Dare I suggest that the animals were being kept in caves, just as we use a barn or stable for the same purpose? It seems a reasonable inference to me. This would imply that the presence of these animals were as much for utilitarian purposes as for food—especially the horses.
Speaking of the Late Paleolithic populations of the Nile Valley, Smith (1976) wrote: "It has also been suggested that there may have been some tentative efforts at controlling or taming wild cattle." Depictions of cattle are engraved on the cliffs near Gebel Silsila, but it is unproven that the artists were Paleolithic. Of this we have no doubt: herding cattle would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, without the aid of the horse.
Do the opinions of professional archeologists and anthropologists that Late Paleolithic people were "on the verge" of animal husbandry, or the existence of engravings of bridled horses prove that those animals were domesticated by the Atlantean people? No they don't. But they are at least suggestive of that possibility.
And in regard to "wild" sheep and goats, shouldn't Atlanteans who had domesticated such animals in their own country be expected to attempt the same among the wild animals on the continents? And shouldn't these once "wild" animals show signs of domestication with the passage of time? This is exactly what I see in the archeological and anthropological record.
Most modern experts tend to refuse acceptance of any given fact until it is proven beyond any shadow of doubt. I, being the "renegade" that I am, say, if it looks like a cow and smells like a cow, it probably is a cow. It appears to me that the evidence, when all facets are considered, tends to support the assertion of Plato that horses, cattle—and possibly sheep, goats and dogs—had been domesticated, or at least controlled, by the Atlanteans long before their arrival on the continents of Europe and North Africa.
Permanent settlements would have been impossible without some domestication of animals, and highly unlikely without some form of agriculture. And Cro-Magnon Man often created permanent settlements for himself. For recent discoveries regarding Ice Age agriculture, go to my Atlantean Agriculture page*.
Bahn, Paul G., Les Batons Perces . . . Reveil d'une Hypothese Abandonnee, in Prehistoric Archaeology t. XXXI, 1976.
Bailey, G. N., Levine, M. A., Whitwell, K. E., Jeffcott, L. B., "Palaeopathology and horse domestication". In Bailey, G., Charles, R., and Winder, N. (Eds), Human Ecodynamics and Environmental Archaeology, Oxbow, Oxford, 2000.
Davis, Simon J. M., & Valla, Francois R., Nature Journal, Vol. 276, No. 5688, December 1976.
Ellegren, H., "It Took Many Mares to Form the Domestic Horse," Trends in Genetics, Vol. 18, No. 10, 1998.
Hadingham, Evan, "Secrets of the Ice Age," Walker & Company Inc., New York, 1979.
Jacobsen, Thomas W., "17,000 Years of Greek Prehistory," Scientific American, Vol. 234, No. 6, June 1976.
Levine, M. A., "The origins of horse husbandry on the Eurasian Steppe," in Late Prehistoric Exploitation of the Eurasian Steppe, McDonald Institute, Cambridge, 1999.
Olsen, Stanley J., "The Early Domestication of the Horse in North China," Archaeology, Vol. 37, No. 1, Jan-Feb 1984.
Perrin, Timothy; "Prehistoric Horsemen," Omni magazine, Vol. 5, No. 37, August 1983.
Smith, Philip E. L., "Stone Age Man on the Nile," Scientific American, Vol. 235, No. 2, August 1976.
Vila, Caries, Savolainen, Peter, Maldonado, Jesus E., Amorim, Isabel R., Rice, John E., Honeycutt, Rodney L., Crandall, Keith A., Lundeberg, J., and Wayne, Robert K., Science, Vol. 276, 13 June 1997.
Leonard rather simplifies the situation because not all ponies are created equal and some experts see evidence of a second type of pony represented in CroMagnon artwork and domesticated separately, AND is the type specifically native to the North Atlantic region. That type of pony is the forerunner of Icelandic and Shetland ponies, and possibly and more controversially possibly some Native American breeds.
The Icelandic pony type would be the original Atlantean horse and a breed of it would have been used in cavalries and in racing. It would itself be an extinct breed today, just as whatever kinds of elephants they had in Atlantis would now be an extinct species.
The association of horses with Poseidon (Neptune) is however legitimate, but originally the god would be a solar god since the horse is a solar animal. The horse races in the horse course in Plato's City of Atlantis would also have a solar significance. Because of this and because of the racecourse I would suggest that the six statue horses associated with the monumental statue of Poseidon in the temple itself were actually racing around the circular base, probably in a clockwise circle. That incidentally is six horses and a hundred nereids around the base of the main statue, 6X100 again.
Because Leonard made mention of the Atlantean Agriculture article I add it below. The situation is even "Worse" than he states" forerunners of the Naftufans were also "Protoagricultural" at 25000 years ago, and even older evidence for regular cultivation and processing of plant crops is found in Middle Stone Age Subsaharan Africa, including manos and metates and as far back as 50000-60000 years ago. In other words, the Egyptians and Naftufans were only following after a precviously-estabished and more widespread African pattern. However, since that pattern evidently includes CroMagnons in Northern Africa, and using Solutran tools as one of the markers, it is simple enough to say that the Atlantean CroMagnons were migrants Out of Africa and following the same tendancy to Protoagriculturalism common in Africa at the time.
Best Wishes, Dale D.
*Atlantean Agriculture page.
EVIDENCE OF ANCIENT AGRICULTURE
Was it practiced in Atlantean times?
By R. Cedric Leonard
"Of all the cultural innovations created by man, certainly one of the most profound in its effects has been the invention of agriculture. This seemingly simple discovery of planting, cultivating and harvesting food provided the basis for larger populations and opened the way to all of the complex societies and higher civilizations that followed. Why and how it came about after more than a million years of hunting are questions that archaeologists and natural scientists are today trying to answer."
The above words penned by Dr. Robert H. Dyson (1973), professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Curator of the Near Eastern Section of the University Museum, express clearly the importance of agriculture to civilization. The invention of writing is important and can do much to consolidate a culture, but without agriculture high civilization can never occur.
It is generally held that agriculture began six to eight thousand years ago at Catal Huyuk in Turkey, at Jarmo in northeastern Iraq and among the Starcevo Koros sites in Rumania and Yugoslavia. But was this beginning an "invention," or merely a resurgence?
Dr. Philip E. L. Smith (1976), professor of anthropology at the University of Montreal, utilizes the term "invent" to describe the shocking appearance of agriculture in the Nile Valley thousands of years too early in the so-called "Late Paleolithic". An alternative explanation for this apparent "anomaly" might be that this is a case of an Atlantean colony making use of techniques already "invented" in Atlantis. Let's take a look at these archeological discoveries.
At several sites on the Kom Ombo Plain (10,000-13,000 B.C.) numerous grinding stones used for the processing of food have been excavated. Elsewhere in Egypt during the same period flint blades, polished with use and looking suspiciously like sickles, have also been found. (Smith, 1976) Several workers, Dr. J. Desmond Clark, professor of African prehistory at the University of California among them, have found evidence of similar activity, not only at Kom Ombo but in several other places in the lower Nile Valley. Prof. Clark writes:
"It is all the more surprising, therefore, that the appearance of food production in north Africa is relatively sudden and we have as yet no evidence of the initial stages towards incipient cultivation there that we know in the Levant and Mesopotamia." (Clark, 1970)
The reason such "initial stages" can't be found may be that they occurred previously in Atlantis. Late Aterian sites have been found as far east as Kharga Oasis in the western deserts of Egypt, and also along the Nile in Nubia. (Clark, 1970) The Aterian people were type de Mechta (Cro-Magnon-like); therefore, we gather that the Cro-Magnon invasions of North Africa had spread eventually into Egypt and the Nile Valley.
Physically the inhabitants of the Kom Ombo Plain were fully modern Homo sapiens, which Smith describes as "rather robust" in build (Smith, 1976). Such a description fits the type de Mechta, which is the North African version of European Cro-Magnon Man: skeletal specimens increase in numbers in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean—strong evidence pointing to an origin in the west (Briggs, 1955).
Prof. Fred Wendorf and Dr. Romuald Schild, both of the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University, have made discoveries related to agriculture in Upper Paleolithic times at Wadi Kubbaniya. Grinding stones, a mortar and pestle, and several harvesting implements have turned up. C-14 dates ranged from 15,000 to 16,300 B.C. Specific C-14 dates were 15,850 B.C. (±200 years) and 15,130 B.C. (±200 years). (Wendorf & Schild, 1981)
Cereal grains were also found at the same levels as the agricultural implements, which created a degree of excitement. However, tandem Accelerator-Mass-Spectrometer tests conducted at the AMS facility in Tuscon Arizona indicated that modern charred wheat and barley grains (originally thought to be as old as the archeological artifacts) had somehow contaminated the lower levels of the site (a phenomenon yet to be explained). (Wendorf, et al.,1984)
The two archeologists offered this observation concerning the abundance of agricultural sites being discovered: "These are not the only Late Paleolithic sites which have been discovered in Egypt along the Nile, nor are they alone in containing stone artifact assemblages which seem to indicate the harvesting of grain. Among others are several sites at Wadi Tushka, near Abu Simbel, at Kom Ombo, north of Aswan, and a third group [a whole series of sites] near Esna. All these are in the Nile Valley." The Esna sites, which exhibit "extensive use of cereals," date from 13,000 to 14,500 years ago. (Wendorf & Schild, 1981) (To compare with Ice Age temperature variations click on Last Ice Age.)
They further elaborate: "While the flaked stone industries from them are different from those found at Kubbaniya, the Tushka site yielded several pieces of stone with lustrous edges, indicating that they were used as sickles in harvesting grain." (Wendorf & Schild, 1981)
After excavating numerous grinding stones associated with the Sebilian and Mechian cultures dating 10,000-13,000 B.C., Smith writes: "With the benefit of hindsight we can now see that many Late Paleolithic peoples in the Old World were poised on the brink of plant cultivation and animal husbandry as an alternative to the hunter-gatherer's way of life" (Smith, 1976). This seems to be clear admission by Prof. Smith that incipient agriculture was bring practiced in North Africa during the Late Paleolithic leading into the Mesolithic Age.
Where Dr. Smith and I part company is when he refers to such activities as a "false dawn," which tells me he thinks it's a fluke. It's equally possible that these people were actually continuing an activity familiar to them in Atlantis; and that the practice was interrupted by the horrendous climatic changes and seismic disturbances accompanying the end of the Ice Age. We could be looking at a "twilight" of an agricultural practice, rather than a so-called "false dawn".
According to Dr. Thomas W. Jacobsen, classical archeologist at the University of Pennsylvania, there are indications that during the Final Paleolithic Age in Greece both plant and animal domestication had taken place. (Jacobsen, 1976)
The site, Franchthi Cave in the Peloponnese, yielded numerous microliths in various geometric shapes—triangles, trapezoids, denticulates—all dating from the Upper Paleolithic. In his opinion, the microliths, embedded in hardwood or bone, formed the cutting edge for sickles used in the harvesting of grain.
Jacobsen comments: "The microliths, many of them geometric, would have been equally useful to hunters as projectile points, to fishermen as harpoon barbs, and possibly even to the collectors of plants as a cutting edge for primitive sickles . . . the required analyses remain to be carried out" (Jacobsen, 1976). Intensive study of wear patterns along the edges of the microliths should eventually reveal their specific uses.
Identical microliths are found among numerous other Upper Paleolithic sites throughout Spain, France, Crete, and even North Africa; but generally their connection with harvesting has gone unrecognized. For instance, at Mas d'Azil in southern France Edouard Piette found a quantity of barley seeds along with microliths, suggesting that the Azilians (a Cro-Magnon people) had been cultivating that species of cereal. It seems some rethinking of the function of microliths might be in order.
Microliths are found among the Magdalenians (also Cro-Magnons), going back thousands of years into the Upper Paleolithic: and they have also been found in abundance among the Mouillian and Capsian sites of North Africa (Briggs, 1955). It is possible that all these Late Paleolithic people were using the sickle to harvest grain.
Agriculture in South America has also been continually pushed back by new discoveries. Some time ago Prof. Robert Banfer, leader of an anthropological team from the University of Missouri, discovered an ancient farming village near Paloma, Peru. Carbon-14 dates of charcoal fragments place the date of the village at no later than 8,000 B.C. (Hammond, 1981)
The village contained hundreds of grass-lined food storage pits, demonstrating that these early farmers were thoroughly familiar with food production, storage and control. According to Banfer, the evidence indicates that they practiced a primitive technique of farming which denuded the countryside, eventually turning it into a desert. Among other crops, they grew peanuts, squash, and various kinds of peppers. (Hammond, 1981)
Even more startling is the discovery by archeologist G. F. Carter (1957) of matates and manos dating to 55,000-80,000 years ago at Point Loma and La Jolla near San Diego, California (I was stationed there in the U.S. Navy at the time). This was a controversial find, and during the intervening years the scientific community has conveniently swept this "under the rug".
[These dates were obtained by the Amino Acid Razzmatazzation process, on associated bone remains, and are considered unreliable. This was a problem with several "Early Man" sites in California at the time and most Archaeologists later spoke disparagingly of "Carterfacts"-DD]
Small slender, leaf-shaped points—looking for all the world like Solutrean flints—double-convex knives, broad-stemmed knives, and numerous fine plano-convex tools dating from 13,000 to 28,000 B.C. were also found by in the San Diego area. Were there "Solutrean" people in North America at the same time the Solutreans were in western Europe? (Click on Atlanteans in America for answer.)
Does the above collection of data concerning the practice of (at least incipient) agriculture during the Upper Paleolithic (i.e., during Atlantean times) prove that the Atlanteans practiced agriculture? No. But it illustrates clearly that the principles of agriculture were certainly known and used during those times by the very people who appear to have arrived in Western Europe and Northwest Africa from the direction of Atlantis! And this was thousands of years before agriculture began to be practiced along the Fertile Crescent.
And is it mere coincidence that the available evidence suggests that the so-called "beginning" of agriculture appears first among the Natufian people in Palestine—an Atlantean outpost, according to our hypothesis? I would classify the Natufian efforts (circa. 10,000 B.C.) as a "resurgence" (rather than an "invention") of agriculture, which eventually spread into other areas of the Fertile Crescent—a mere "restart" of an activity which had been going on for thousand of years in Egypt, Nubia, Greece, and possibly Atlantis.
There is one thing we know for sure. The civilization of Atlantis described by Plato could not have existed if agriculture was unknown to its people. According to Plato's Critias, they not only practiced agriculture, but also utilized an extensive irrigation network, which greatly enhanced the natural productivity of the land. This was the "key" allowing them to attain high civilization.
The archeological data presented in this article demonstrates that the principles of agriculture were known several thousand years before the Ice Age came to a close: yet we have been led to believe that the inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent "invented" agriculture for the very first time only 8,000 to 9,000 years ago.
No doubt the beginning of agriculture was a momentous occurrence, whether occurring in Atlantis or elsewhere. Hunting and gathering will not support large aggregations of people living in one place; neither will it allow people to establish permanent cities, since such populations must follow migrating herds when subsistence depends on hunting.
We are also told that the domestication of animals did not occur until after Atlantis was long gone, but Plato's sources may have been accurate on this issue as well. Plato mentions sacrificial bulls and a horse-race track; and according to Plato the Atlantean priests wore cloth robes, indicating that they either grew cotton or had domesticated the sheep. As promised some time ago, I am finally offering a page on the Domestication of Animals.
Briggs, L. Cabot, "The Stone Age Races of Northwest Africa," Bulletin No. 18, American School of Prehistoric Research, Cambridge, 1955.
Carter, G. F., "Pleistocene Man at San Diego," Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1957.
Clark, J. Desmond, "The Prehistory of Africa," Praeger Publishers (University Series), New York, 1970
Dyson, Robert H., In Introduction to "The First Farmers," by Jonathan N. Leonard and editors of Time-Life Books, New York. 1973.
Jacobsen, Thomas W., "17,000 Years of Greek Prehistory," Scientific American, Vol. 234, No. 6, June 1976.
Hammond, Allen L., "Unearthing the New World's oldest village," Science 81, Vol. 2, No. 6, July-August 1981.
Smith, Philip E. L., "Stone Age Man on the Nile," Scientific American, Vol. 235, No. 2, August 1976.
Wendorf, Fred & Schild, Romoald, "The Earliest Food Producers," Archaeology, Vol. 34, No. 5, September-October 1981.
Wendorf, et al., "New radiocarbon dates on the cereals from Wadi Kubbaniya," Science, Vol. 225, Nos. 645-6, 1984.