Astronomical Interpretation of Five Late Bronze Age Cyprus Figures: Confirmation of the Existence of Written Language in Archaic Linear Art Used in a Religious Setting

Midnight Science (2013-2014), Volume 12, Paper 9

Author: Derek Cunningham

Paper Submitted: 30th Dec 2013, Published: 3oth Dec 2013

Abstract

An analysis of five late Bronze Age Terracotta religious statues, each circa 3,300 year old, reveals the presence of astronomical writing similar to the linear text seen on the circa 27,000 year old Vestonice Venus and the 5,000 year old Lemba “Lady” figures (1). The various Cyprus figures appear to represent archaic lunar gods, with the variation in angle of the astronomical writing present on each figure possibly representing names of different deities. The suggestion that the linear lines might construct an archaic alphabet, was argued in a prior study of the Kharga Oasis panel, and is apparently confirmed here by the observation that all five Cyprus Bronze Age statues orientate to an identical feature present on each statue – this being the lower line found on the left leg of each statue. This common orientation of all five statues strongly argues that the linear patterns were  indeed designed to form an archaic alphabet system, perhaps one similar to that employed in Japanese Hiragana and Katakana. The results presented here also suggest that successful translation of the text found on the Cyprus statues might permit a translation of older text, such as the astronomical text found on circa 30,000 year old artifacts in Africa, Asia and Europe, to be possible.

Introduction

The recent study of the circa 25,000 to 30,000 year old Dolni Vestonice Venus and the circa 5,000 Year old Lemba Lady Figure (1) has confirmed that linear marks drawn on the back and front of late Paleolithic-era figures are astronomical/geometrical text used to represent astronomical values (2). The similarities seen on these two statues, created 20,000 to 25,000 years apart are so substantial that it becomes possible to argue that the two statues represent a single Paleolithic-era lunar moon god and that this god was worshipped throughout the continent of Europe for a substantial period of time (1).

The primary feature of archaic astronomical writing, is the text employs just a handful of lines. These lines, which correspond to the conversion of astronomical values to an angular array, relate specifically to the prediction of eclipses, and the measurement of time.

The most important of these astronomical values is the sidereal month, which is drawn in early astronomical texts as an angular value at either 13.66 or 27.32 degrees to represent the half and full month values. After the sidereal month value is known it is then a simple matter for astronomers to calculate that the earth is moving approximately 1 degree per day around the sun, and through more careful observations to deduce there is an eclipse season every 6.511 draconic months, this being a time period a time period equivalent to 6 synodic months. Other parameters important for predicting eclipses are the 5.1 degree angle of inclination of the moon’s orbit, and the 9.3/18.6 year lunar nodal cycle. Finally a value of 11 degrees is found on many early Stone Age artifacts, which corresponds to the 11 day difference between the lunar and solar year. Within the ancient text all these values are simply converted to an angular array, offset to either above or below the horizon, or to the right or left of vertical.

Before this specific study the largest number of artifacts exhibiting this archaic geometrical text was found to cluster around circa 30,000 to 35,000 years old. These artifacts are the circa 35,000 year old Ishango, and Lebombo bones (3), the upper Paleolithic-era Remouchamp Bone (4), and the linear markings found on a circa 30,000 year old engraved stone recently uncovered at the Shuidonguo Paleolithic Site (5). This suggests that the same astronomical writing system was employed in Africa, Asia and Europe circa 25,000 to 30,000 years ago, but despite some suggestions that there may have been a worldwide culture at this time from this result, this cannot be proven as there does exists other much older samples know to align to the exact same astronomical text, such as the Blombos Cave ochres, estimated to be between 70,000 to 100,000 years old, the linear carved stones uncovered at La Grotte de l’Observatoire, Monaco at circa 200,000 years old and the engraved bone Bilzingsleben, Germany at circa 300,000 to 400,000 years old. Of the three oldest samples studied to date the fan motif uncovered at Bilzingsleben is structurally the most impressive – see 400,000 Years of Stone Age Science by Derek Cunningham for further details.

The underlying problem with astronomical text is the apparent inability to write anything other than these very limited astronomical values. This problem was potentially overcome within the last paper published when it was proposed that a writing system based on the conversion of astronomical values to an angular array just might create a full alphabet from only 6 to 9 angular lines. In this new theory when a 9-line system is converted to an angular array the angular offsets to either above or below the horizontal, or to the right or left of vertical produces four directional offsets to which the nine lines can be aligned. This can easily create a 36 letter alphabet of 4 times 9 lines, though clearly such a system would be very difficult to read unless there was a well defined method to standardize the alignment of the text.

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The other possibility is the 9 lines can be used to create a written system that is similar to that used in modern day Japan where nine consonants are directly linked to four vowels to produce an array such as Ka Ki Ku and Ke. Here the four offsets to which the lines align would then create the linking four vowels, (a, e, i and u). The fifth vowel, probably the vowel “o”, would then be treated separately, perhaps by the presence of the various circular patterns that are occasionally seen in linear text. However, again it is clear that to be readable a well understood method must exist to align the text.

In this paper a study of five similar miniature humanoid figures uncovered in religious settings at various Bronze Age sites in Cyprus is undertaken. The primary purpose is to  see if, as predicted, a common method of aligning the samples to the sidereal month value was used. A common alignment method for all Cyprus statues, if present, would provide support for the proposed theory that all linear patterns drawn on circa 3,200 to 3,500 year old Cyprus statues are indeed text, and would also confirm that the various statues represent lunar moon god type figures.

If on the other hand no common method of aligning the linear patterns exists it can be argued that the lines are a series of random patterns, and from a statistical viewpoint this is the result expected. This is thus a destructive test, where a negative result would largely destroy the recently proposed theory.

Data

Following the same protocol used in the prior study of early Cyprus statues (3,4), the small figures are rotated until the prominent lower line on the left leg of each figure aligns to 27.3 degrees – this is the angular value representing the sidereal month value. The remaining lines are then analyzed to determine their orientation.

For reference the data for the Lemba Lady is reproduced from publication (1). As can be seen the lines are aligned to the standard astronomical values by offsets from the horizontal, or vertical.

 

 

Below are now shown various late Bronze Age figures uncovered in Cyprus.

At the angular alignment defined by the Lemba Lady (this being the rotation of the lower left leg until the lower line of the double V pattern aligns to an angle of 27.32 degrees) the Boston Museum figure shows four additional lines aligned to the sidereal month value of 27.32 degrees, two lines aligned the 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle, and two line aligned to an angle of 24 degrees. The latter value may represents the 24 hour day, but this is still uncertain.

Turning now to a statue held by Birmingham Museum (Catalogue Number 1982A976), the exact same orientation method is used, with the lower line drawn on the left leg of the statue aligned to an angle of 27.32 degrees.

Here the statue currently again exhibits additional sidereal month alignments, but this time there also exists the half-sidereal month value of 13.66 degrees. Other lines visible are secondary alignments to the 5.1 degree angle of inclination of the moon’s orbital plane to the ecliptic, and the half Lunar nodal cycle value of 9.3 years. Two lines are present at an angle of 45 degrees. This value is found in a number of archaeological samples younger than 5,000 years old, and appears to be a geometric value with no astronomical meaning. The curvature of the neck in this piece is similar to that radius expected for the moon at apogee and perigee.

The third piece analyzed is now believed to be in private hands (Christie’s auction, June 2006). Again the same alignment process is used where the lower line on the left leg is rotated to 27.32 degrees, orientated to above the horizontal.

This statue exhibits more lines than the prior statues, but despite being more complex the statue remains consistent with the proposed theory and exhibits numerous lines aligned to the lunar nodal cycle and the angle of inclination of the moon’s orbit. In this piece a number of lines also appear to align to an angle of 52 degrees, which might suggest the existence of a 52 week calendar. This appears to link to the 24 degree alignment seen in the Boston Museum figurine and suggests the 24 hour day, 52 week calendar may have been used during the late Bronze Age in Cyprus.

The fourth figure analyzed, is a figurine held by the Met Museum. This appears to be a statue of either Isis, or less plausibly Thoth, the Egyptian lunar god. Thoth is often represented as a bird-headed god whose primary role was maintaining the universe. Isis is the mother Goddess and protector of the dead. Isis is normally not shown with a bird head, but typically as a winged goddess with a standard human head.

Again aligning the lower line of the left leg to an angle of 27.32 degrees (upper right quadrant) produces alignments to the half and full sidereal month values, the 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle, and the 11 day difference between the solar and lunar year. All values are consistent with a lunar god.

The final late Bronze Age figurine is a female horned figure, again held by the Met Museum.

As now standard the lower line on the left leg is rotated to an angle of 27.32 degrees. The lunar values the remaining lines align to are the full and half sidereal month values, and the 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle. The remaining lines align 7 times to an angle of 52 degrees, twice to the angle of 30 degrees, and twice to an angle of 45 degrees. Again it should be remembered that offsets are either to the left of right of vertical, or to below the horizontal.

For comparison the data for the circa 30,000 years old Dolni Vestonice figure is shown. In this far older piece there are no lines present on the leg of the figure, thus the alignment is taken from the centerline of the torso.

 

As can be seen, six of the seven figures shown above exhibit a common alignment angle to the 13.66 degree half-sidereal month value. The 27.32 degree value is automatically present in all seven as this is the key angular value used to align the various pieces, however in most pieces there are secondary lines present that independently replicate thIs value.

There also exists a strong link in the various pieces to the lunar nodal cycle with lines present at 9.3 and 18.6 degrees representing the half and full duration of the 18.6 year lunar nodal cycle. Other values present are the 5.1 degree angle of inclination of the moon’s orbit relative to the ecliptic, and an alignment to 33 degrees that perhaps relate to early calendars that employed 11 months of 66 half-days to produce 363 days (726/2), with 4 half days added to produce the 365 day year.

Though it is known that various writing styles were present in the late Bronze Age it appears that in Cyprus it was required to use an archaic linear astronomical text for religious ceremonies. This may correspond to the more modern practice of the Roman Catholic Church using Latin.

The most important result though is the existence of a common rotation angle found in all six Cyprus statues described above. Apart from the Lemba Lady, which is circa 5,000 years old all statues were produced circa 3,500 to 3,400 years ago. It appears reasonable to argue that a common method of alignment would not be required if the only information contained with the linear text was just the astronomical values, as a simple rotation would permit anyone to eventually extract the values. Thus the data directly suggests that the need for a common alignment must be linked to an alphabet system being present in the various angular offsets. If correct this gives great hope that geometrical text just might be translatable. If successful might permit more ancient samples of astronomical text to be translated, such as the text present on the circa 350,000 year old Bilzingsleben bone. If this is achieved then the really deep ancient past might suddenly become much more accessible.

References

  1. Initial Evidence of a Direct Cultural Link between Vestonice in the Czech Republic and Lemba in Cyprus: Presence of Identical Early Astronomical Writing and Lunar Symbolism on the Lemba and the Dolni Vestonice Venus Figures Suggesting the Continuous Worship of a Lunar Moon God Figure for a Period of Circa 20,000 Years
  2. 400,000 Years of Stone Age Science By Derek Cunningham,
  3. D. Cunningham, Reinterpretation of the Lebombo and Ishango Tally Marks: Evidence of Advanced Astronomical studies in Paleolithic-era Bones and the Existence of an Alphabet-based Writing System in the Early Upper Paleolithic Time Period, Midnight Science, Volume 12, (2013-2014) Paper 4.
  4. D. Cunningham, A Reanalysis of the Purpose of the Engraved Bones from Remouchamps, Midnight Science, Volume 12, (2013-2014) Paper 1.
  5. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Astronomical Data Contained within the Engraved Stone uncovered at the Shuidonggou Paleolithic Site, Northwest China, Midnight Science, Volume 9, (2013-2014) Paper 6.
  6. D. Cunningham, Analysis of the Linear Rock Art “Spiders” Discovered at Kharga Oasis: The Presence of Astronomical Writing in Early Egyptian Rock Art. Midnight Science, Volume 12, (2013-2014) Paper 8.
  7. The Archaeology of Cyprus: From Earliest Prehistory Through the Bronze Age By A. Bernard Knapp.
  8. James B. Harrod, Keys to Deciphering Later Acheullian Period Marking Motifs
  9. See papers published in Volumes 8 through 12 Midnight Science.
 

© 2010 – 2013 Derek Cunningham; Midnight Science, ISSN 2160-0201; Volume 12, Paper 9.

Midnight Science Journal is the website domain name for the Journal Midnight Science.

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