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The First Signs

Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One of the most significant works on our evolutionary ancestry since Richard Leakey's Origins, The First Signs is the first-ever exploration of the geometric images that accompany most cave art around the world - the first indications of symbolic meaning, intelligence, and language.

Imagine yourself as a caveman or cavewoman. The place: Europe. The time: 25,000 years ago, the last Ice Age. In reality you live in an open-air tent or a bone hut. But you also belong to a rich culture that creates art. In and around your cave paintings are handprints and dots, x's and triangles, parallel lines and spirals. Your people know what they mean. You also use them on tools and jewelry. And then you vanish - and with you, their meanings.

Join renowned archaeologist Genevieve von Petzinger on an Indiana Jones-worthy adventure from the open-air rock art sites of Northern Portugal to the dark depths of a remote cave in Spain that can be reached only by sliding face-first through the mud. Von Petzinger looks past the beautiful horses, powerful bison, graceful ibex, and faceless humans in the ancient paintings to the abstract geometric images that accompany them. These terse symbols appear more often than any other kinds of figures - signs that have never really been studied or explained until now.

Part travel journal, part popular science, part personal narrative, von Petzinger's groundbreaking book starts to crack the code on the first form of graphic communication. It's in her blood, as this talented scientist's grandmother served as a code breaker at Bletchley. Discernible patterns emerge that point to abstract thought and expression, and for the first time we can begin to understand the changes that might have been happening inside the minds of our Ice Age ancestors - offering a glimpse of when they became us.

©2016 Genevieve von Petzinger (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Arden
  • St Louis, MO, United States
  • 03-09-19

A new look at our oldest art

I like cave art, and I wonder how and when our ancestors realized that a few charcoal lines could represent objects in the real world. This book considers this idea and many more. The author discussed not only the figurative drawings; she examines the dots and lines that accompany them. I recommend this book for anyone with the least curiosity about our earliest art.

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The fIrst signs

The author has written a truly fascinating, interesting, and well written book. Obviously the work is highly scholarly, well researched, a and highly documented. A truly excellent work.

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exciting

Really loved this book. Hope there is a follow up with more information on markings & signs Makes me want to re-read Clan of the Cave Bear series in order to integrate this info into that story.