Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back in the day. 10,000 years back in the day.

The Sicanians are thought to be the earliest inhabitants of the island of Sicily, perhaps the indigenous people. Because I am feeling terribly lazy tonight, I'm linking to an interesting article on the Sicanians in case you want to get up to speed on them. I'm in a cut-to-the-chase mood. The picture on their site is one included below. It's called The Temple of Diana.

"The temple a megalithic building dating back to the IX century B.C., is the only pre-classical monument in Sicily."
IgoUgo Photo: "Temple of Diana" in Sicily by Drever
There are Temples of Diana all over Sicily. This one is in Cefula. Segesta, Agregento, and other locations also have Temples of Diana, but the one pictured is the oldest. Segesta was also an ancient, possibly indigenous city tho the name might not be.

The inspiration for tonight's post are the neolithic carvings found in a cave on the northeast side of Mount Pellegrino.

Grotta dell'Addaura is a complex of caves in which bones and hunting tools and the general presence of Paleolithic peoples have been discovered. After Sicily was invaded in WWII, ammo was stored in the caves. "ohnoes!" I thought! "It will explode the drawings!" Some of the ammo "accidentally" went off and happened to blast away just enough to reveal the carvings which had been covered up by grime and time. The carvings are notable, for starters, because the focus is on people with a few animals in the "background" and because the people are shown in movement. Here is a picture:
I intentionally left it large so you could look at the detail and play along at home.

What do you notice in this picture?

To me it appears to be a circle of people dancing around 2 figures who are on the ground.
There are figures with what look like beards.
The figure at the top right looks like it has a bird head.
The figure below the pair on the ground looks like a woman to me.
There is a deer below her.

The carvings date to 8,000 BCE.

The earliest known cave paintings were thought to be in France. In the past decade they lost the crown. Paintings found in the Fumane cave in Verona date back about 42,000 years. Is that about 10k years older than the french cave? And they weren't just flint scribbles either. They were paintings. With red and yellow ochre found there as well. I've always said Italians are the best artists ;)

Proserpine, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
File:Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Proserpine.JPG

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