Same 32 Symbols Found In Ice Age Caves Across Europe

Why Are These 32 Symbols Found In Ice Age Caves Across Europe? 


Archaeologist Genevieve von Petzinger has made an incredible discovery. 

But, says von Petzinger, we’ve been so caught up by the beautiful, flowing artistry of the painted animals at caves like Altamira, Lascaux, and Chauvet, that we’ve missed something even more remarkable.

Among the elaborate horses, bulls, bears and hunters, there are some other rather less captivating designs – small geometric motifs, etched onto the walls. Until now, they’ve not received much attention. But as it turns out, these humble designs conceal a much more intriguing mystery.

Von Petzinger and her photographer-husband visited 52 caves across Europe recording every instance of these symbols that they could see. They found new, undocumented examples at 75% of the caves they visited, and found the symbols far outnumbered the human and animal images.


But the amazing thing was that however many caves they visited, they found the same 32 shapes being used again and again and again. The fact that the same 32 symbols are repeated across sites that span 30,000 years and an entire content is nothing less than mindblowing. But what do they actually mean?

Watch Dr Von Petzinger’s TED talk:


(via Maiya at


About Stan Flouride

THIS BLOG IS ALWAYS AD-FREE I make stuff and do things.
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3 Responses to Same 32 Symbols Found In Ice Age Caves Across Europe

  1. Heather says:

    Thanks 4 sharing. As these 32 symbols have been found in caves around the world, I don’t see why they are not considered a “valid” written language system. English only has 24 characters after all.


    • Archaeologists are very conservative when it comes to appointing specific meaning to their discoveries. They would have to appear in varying sequences to be a language.
      If they’re found in a specific order it could mean that they represent a shared symbolic ritual or progression.
      Runes are a good example of this. Long before they were deciphered they were recognized as a language because the same shapes appeared in different combinations.


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