Reading rocks. Being water. Drops of water.

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Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

Crystals from the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption have demonstrated a new way to recognize pre-eruption signals at Eyjafjallajökull and potentially other, similar volcanoes around the world. (1)

Reading the story of the planet on rocks.

But don’t be fooled.

The story of our cosmos is not carved on stone.

Our story is written on water.

Ever changing. Ever present. Part of everything. Including everything. Bringing up tides. Bringing down mountains. From the fierce oceans to the calm lakes. From the dark clouds to the morning breeze. Writing history. In the most permanent way possible.

A drop of water disappearing into the ocean.

And at its last moments of existence.

Whispering gently to the world.

I am not just a drop of water falling into an ocean.

Watch me and fear!

For I will extinguish the fire of the world!

Engraved symbols. Long gone. Deep into our heart…

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Photo by Bisesh Gurung from Pexels

Engraved stone artifacts are important clues to the history of human culture and cognition. Incisions on the cortex (soft outer layer) of flint or chert flakes are known from Middle and Lower Paleolithic sites across Europe and the Middle East. However, it can be difficult to determine the action that created an incision: was it an accidental scrape or purposeful engraving? To address this issue, Majkic and colleagues created an interpretive framework that allows researchers to classify the structure and patterns of engraved cortexes and cross-check these attributes with a list of possible causal actions.

They tested this methodology with an engraved flake from the cave site of Kiik-Koba in Crimea. The many stone artifacts at the site are associated with Neanderthal remains and date to around 35,000 years ago. Following microscopic examination of the grooved lines on the flint cortex, the researchers concluded that the incisions represent deliberate engravings that would have required fine motor skills and attention to detail. These engravings appear to have been made with symbolic or communicative intent.

If this interpretation is correct, this engraved flake would join a growing list of signs that Neanderthals engaged in symbolic activities, along with evidence of intentional burial, personal ornaments, and other decorated objects. This has implications for the question of when and how many times this sort of cultural expression has evolved among hominin populations. The researchers hope to hone their framework further for use with artifacts of varying ages and cultural contexts. (1)

Old symbols.

But not dead ones.

Lingering still inside us.

Engraved into our very souls.

No need for any analysis or interpretation. Just look within yourself. Every part of you is governed by primate instincts. Every thought you have stems from an otherworldly need of belonging. Belonging to something bigger than you. Something shared with all other humans and with the universe itself.

Long before you were born…

You used to be alive.

Part of everything.

Enclosing everything…

Try to remember.

You were primitive back then.

Not yet cursed with knowledge…

A raw untamed river. Carving its way through the stone…

Hunting. Drawing. Being in oblivion. Doing art.

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Visual imagery used in drawing regulates arm movements in manner similar to how hunters visualize the arc of a spear. Neanderthals had large brains and made complex tools but never demonstrated the ability to draw recognizable images, unlike early modern humans who created vivid renderings of animals and other figures on rocks and cave walls. That artistic gap may be due to differences in the way they hunted, suggests a University of California, Davis, expert on predator-prey relations and their impacts on the evolution of behavior.

Neanderthals used thrusting spears to bring down tamer prey in Eurasia, while Homo sapiens, or modern humans, spent hundreds of thousands of years spear-hunting wary and dangerous game on the open grasslands of Africa.

Richard Coss, a professor emeritus of psychology, says the hand-eye coordination involved in both hunting with throwing spears and drawing representational art could be one factor explaining why modern humans became smarter than Neanderthals. (1)

We used to be alive.

With no time to make art.

We now live void lives.

And yet, we have painting.

We find no meaning anywhere.

And yet, we are artistic.

A dead civilization.

Leaving behind paintings; celebrating a life we have lost.

We used to be Neanderthals, brute and raw. Killing by contact, not from a distance. So, they (we) did not develop art back then. Or did they? Neanderthals lived every day without wanting to leave something behind. They just lived. And this was their heritage to the world. Their signature on the fabric of existence of the universe.

Their art was their own being.

Their own agony. Their own sorrow. Their own life.

A fascinating life, lived day after day in silence.

An incredible life lost in oblivion.

Without ever being told to anyone.

An incredible story lost in time.

A work of art…

Looking at the eyes of a dying animal…

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What you do defines what you… do.

And what we do is what we define.

Simple tautologies; often ignored.

Throw the spear away.

Kill animals.

Learn how to do art.

Do art. Name everything art.

Forget how to throw spears…

Die… There is no art now. Just life…

Viking warriors… Women warriors…

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Viking warriors have a historical reputation as tough guys, with an emphasis on testosterone. But scientists about a year ago said that DNA had unveiled a Viking warrior woman who was previously found in a roughly 1,000-year-old grave in Sweden. Until then, many researchers assumed that “she” was a “he” buried with a set of weapons and related paraphernalia worthy of a high-ranking military officer.

If the woman was in fact a warrior, a team led by archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson of Uppsala University in Sweden has identified the first female Viking to have participated in what was long considered a male pursuit. (1)

People may be startled to see a woman as a Viking warrior.

Let alone seeing her as a leading warrior in an important battle.

And yet, the most important battle of all is with our self.

A battle fought every day, with grim odds of winning it.

Because our self is relentless and powerful.

Knowing all our secrets and weapons of war.

Only a woman can give this battle. Only a woman can be emotional enough to get into the battle and strong enough to finish it without losing herself. Because women are creators. Creators of life, able to withstand pain of levels impossible for someone who focuses on the self. Small gods, living among us but without ever seeking acknowledgement.

Look closely at the battle field. No, not there were men slaughter each other and strong cries of pain tear through the air. Look further away. Back in the homes of these brave men. There is a woman waiting Ulysses. And a fierce battle raging. A silent battle.

Look into her eye.

And you will see Zeus fighting Cronus under the shadows of Ouranos…

Tar. Adhesive irrelevancy.

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Neanderthals seem stuck with unflattering reputations. The entire species of early human ancestors has long been reduced to a pejorative for describing someone who isn’t very bright, despite growing evidence of the sophistication of Homo neanderthalensis. And recent research suggests another overlooked mark of their ingenuity: they made the first glues in the form of tar.

Archaeologists first found tar-covered stones and black lumps at Neanderthal sites across Europe about two decades ago. The tar was distilled from the bark of birch trees some 200,000 years ago, and seemed to have been used for hafting, or attaching handles to stone tools and weapons. But scientists did not know how Neanderthals produced the dark, sticky substance, more than 100,000 years before Homo sapiens in Africa used tree resin and ocher adhesives.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of archaeologists has used materials available during prehistoric times to demonstrate three possible ways Neanderthals could have deliberately made tar. While the study does not prove that Neanderthals used any of these methods, it aims to demonstrate that they had access to the ingredients and means to produce tar. (1)

Men killing.

Men dying.

Blood on the ground.

Screams in the air.

People trying to figure out how the tools were made…

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