The first rock drawings of Israel


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Engravings on rocks always tend to cause excitement. Rock-art or engravings can be found all over the world and are the first indication of civilization reaching an intelligent capacity. The oldest known rock-art dates back 100,000 years to South Africa and shows complicated patterns and designs. However, there are many places in the world where no rock art has even been discovered and it means that the civilizations that are there are a mystery today. We know little about their culture, about their beliefs, and about their habits. A new discovery may have found the first cave art of one important region.

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Isreal is an incredibly important historic land. It holds a special place for Jews and Christians as it is where much of the bible takes place. In addition, it is a land that is contested in modern-day by Palestinians and Israelites. The history of this land matters. 4,000 years ago there was a civilization that existed in Israel that people know very little about. 

Dolmens or large stones had been found in the region dating back to this time. These dolmens were interesting but to date, none have been found with engravings. While the placement and structure of these dolmens were always interesting, it posed more questions than answers. Now three dolmens have been found that have engravings and it has made archaeologists very excited. 

The first depiction shows 14 fork-like shapes on a ceiling. Since then another depiction has been found with numerous animals all with horns suggesting different forms of livestock. A third depiction shows some crosses with rectangles enclosed. Archaeologists also found a small knife in one of the caves, which was the likely tool used to make the markings. Another dolmen was found with three horizontal lines carved into the rock. The rock was already oval-shaped and the lines appear to depict a face as two horizontal lines are side by side, like eyes, with one horizontal line below and in the middle, a mouth. Archaeologists do admit that calling this a face is a bit of a leap as there are numerous possibilities of what three lines could mean.

Some of the dolmens weigh over 50 tons and would require teamwork and strategy to lift and move. This suggests that the dolmens were not simple monuments created by nomads but something that was more planned. The carvings only add to this theory. 

Archaeologists are incredibly excited by the carvings as it means they can start to fill in the blanks in a long period of history in the land now known as Israel. In other areas of the world, cave drawings have provided meaningful insight into what early settlers were like and what they deemed as important. The Chauvet Cave is one outstanding example of cave paintings that is worth further inspection. While many cave paintings are incredibly simple and look like children’s drawings, those in Chauvet are incredibly well preserved and detailed. They show 13 varieties of animals and are drawn to an incredible degree of sophistication, yet still dating back 30,000 years.

In Australia, there is a place called Nawarla Gabarnmung that has some rock paintings that are 24,000 years old. These paintings are incredibly beautiful and shed significant light on what life was like for early aborigines. 

While the cave drawings found in Israel are not the oldest or the most elaborated, they are incredibly important. These drawings may provide clues to the ancient civilizations of Israel and will allow historians to have a better understanding of the culture that existed at the time. Let’s hope these three discoveries are the first of many.