Author of the Month

Astronomers of the Ice Age

By Sharif Sakr, August 2000

The Evidence

A map of the Pleiades, a group of seven stars that form part of the constellation known today as Taurus, is located just over the shoulder of a bull drawn near the entrance to the cave. Spots on the bull itself may represent other stars found in this region of sky.

A map of the "Summer Triangle" (stars Vega, Deneb and Altair) is located in part of the cave's interior known as the "Shaft of the Dead Man". The stars are represented by the eyes of three figures - a bull, a bird sitting on a vertical stick, and a strange bird-man. The Summer Triangle is so named because it is especially bright during the summer months. Significantly, 17,000 years ago this star group would have never been below the horizon.

Rappenglück has also uncovered a map of the "Northern Crown" constellation located in a cave in the Pico del Castillo mountains of Spain. This map is thought to be 14,000 years old.

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