When Humanity was already praying for drought: prehistoric vestiges reveal that engravings in caves asked for rain

Image of the prehistoric engravings of Los Aulgares FRIENDS OF THE HERITAGE OF ZALAMEA LA REAL 04/10/2023
Image of the prehistoric engravings of Los Aulgares FRIENDS OF THE HERITAGE OF ZALAMEA LA REAL 04/10/2023

A research work by Professor of Archeology and Prehistory at the University of Seville José Luis Escacena concludes that the petroglyphs of Los Aulgaresengraved on rock in a place in Zalamea la Real (Huelva), would be “the result of several prayers for rain” in the face of “a rapid and important climatic evolution” translated into an increase in aridity and a “extreme drought”.

This study is specifically titled “The petroglyph of Los Aulgares as a religious response to the 4.2 ka cal climate event. BP” and revolves around the “symbolic meaning” of the petroglyphs or rock engravings of Los Aulgares, dated to the period of the Copper Age and located on a hill that is about two kilometers from the urban area of ​​Zalamea la Real.

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The author of this work, a member of the Department of Prehistory and Archeology of the University of Seville, begins by directly pointing out “the environmental changes that occurred at the end of the 3rd millennium” prior to the current era, in reference to the so-called “climatic event.” 4.2 ka cal. BP”, whose consequences “were drastic and very rapid”, resulting in “an extraordinary increase in aridity that almost immediately affected the vegetation.”

Of the effects of the “large-scale extension” of this climatic event in the area of ​​​​the northern hemisphere of the Earthaccording to this work published in 2018, but fully valid given the current context of drought, would result in “the end of the Akkadian Empire and the collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt, as well as the disappearance of the contemporary cultures of the Indus.”

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Going deeper into this climatic phenomenon, José Luis Escacena specifies that “for the south” of the Iberian Peninsula, towards the beginning of the 2nd millennium before our era (AD), a “dry and cold climatic phase” was already “fully installed”, extreme “responsible in the first instance of the end of the Chalcolithic world.”

“The pollen data show a strong tendency towards desertification of the territory. Tree species disappear to make way for scrub vegetation more resistant to water stress. Likewise, erosion increases, with its corresponding impact on the filling of river mouths,” Escacena highlights in this study, reasoning that “This cold and very dry climate was not the most suitable for the crops of prehistoric communities.”, whose agricultural systems would have “collapsed” until the situation led to “numerous famines and the parallel decrease in the human population.”

In this context, José Luis Escacena highlights the “notable effort used” when engraving the lines of the Los Aulagare petroglyphs, an extreme that “removes them from any interpretation that could attribute them to the afternoon boredom of a shepherd” and gives them “ “very likely to be a leading manifestation of the religious beliefs of its time.”

Remembering that these engravings show circular representations, some with radii and others merely concentric, Escacena advances in the first pages of his work that “this different treatment suggests that the aim was to represent two different things.”

At the point, he explains that scientific “agreement” governs that “the radiated signs refer to celestial bodies”, that is, “certain stars” such as the sun or the planets “known at the time” as it is possible to contemplate them “with the naked eye”; specifying that “in the southern Hispanic Chalcolithic” the planets that we currently know as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn would have already been identified.

The circular representations with radii of the Los Aulagares engravings, according to this researcher from Hispalense, would thus reflect “celestial bodies” expressed as “divine icons”, that is, “the entities from which one intends to pray something”.

Next, the author of this study maintains that the parallels of these engravings with Chalcolithic ceramics “allow us to refine the dating” of them, “supporting the idea that they correspond precisely to the period that marks the obvious beginning of the 4.2 k climatic episode.” , whose scope was so broad” that he can be understood, according to his thesis, as the “main person responsible” for the “collapse” of the Chalcolithic world of the Iberian Peninsula.

Consequently, Escacena defends in this work that “this manifestation of rock art can be dated to the end of the 3rd millennium” prior to the current era, when “a rapid and important climatic evolution occurred,” in reference to the “4.2 cal BP event.” ” and the “great drought” inherent to it.

And especially, Professor Escacena points out the representations of Hispanic rock art in which “the compositions of cosmic water are symbolized with small circles or points”, clarifying however that in the case of Los Aulagares, “the large circles that surround the Radiated luminous bodies present a singularity”, since “they are designed by concentric circles presided over by a central cavity”.

“I can’t find anything more similar to this than the concentric circular waves that rainwater drops form when they hit puddled surfaces,” reasons José Luis Escacena; whereas non-radiated concentric symbols of the prehistoric engravings of Los Aulgares “seem to respond to the image of drops of a liquid falling on a watery horizontal plane” and interpreting that they would respond to “prayers for rain” within the framework of the period of aridity derived from the aforementioned episode climate.

With this argument, Professor José Luis Escacena proposes that this hypothesis could “return to at least five millennia ago the human custom of asking the gods for water when it is needed for crops, especially in situations of extreme drought.”

Information prepared by Europa Press

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