Researchers believe that ancient rock engravings found all over Europe are actually prehistoric performance pieces - a primitive form of going to the movies. Did they play prehistoric video games as well?
Copper Age rock carvings can be found all over Europe. Chances are you've seen images like the one above in a history book, or on the Discovery Channel. For ages, scientists have suggested these scrawlings to be simple early works of art. Now researchers think they might be more than that.
They believe these are movies.
Researchers from Cambridge University and Sankt Poelten's university of applied sciences in Austria believe that the engravings represent sequential art, possibly performed in front of an audience.
"The cliff engravings... in our opinion are not just pictures but are part of an audiovisual performance," Frederick Baker of Cambridge University's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology said in a statement Tuesday.
Not movies in today's sense, of course. They didn't have film projectors, and while many of the locations the drawings have been found in have excellent acoustics, surround sound back then was just called sound or perhaps 'gargh'.
"In this sense, the rock engravings are not just static images but pictures that created a story in the mind of the viewer — just like at the cinema," said Baker.
So what these researchers are saying is this: somewhere between 4000 to 1000 BC, groups of prehistoric men gathered in communal areas and watched a performer or series of performer tell stories by carving images into rocks.
Fights, dances, and hunts were common themes. Women were rarely depicted, ruining the whole art begets porn theory.
Cambridge University and FH Sankt Poelten are now launching a "Prehistoric Picture Project", using computers to recreate the images and animate them.
And while they're busy doing that, ponder this: if this is considered early cinema, it only takes one member of the crowd shouting instructions for this to become early interactive entertainment. If the guy carving the rocks counts as a screen, and someone watching controls his actions, then that's early gaming.
Man, this scientific research stuff is easy.
Prehistoric man went to the movies, say researchers [Physorg.com]