Scientists discover 4,500-year-old doodle

July 16, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

Scientists have discovered what is believed to be one of the world’s oldest DOODLES – an ancient scrawl carved onto a rock by a bored caveman 4,500 years ago.

Cambridge University experts believe the crudely etched circles are the Neolithic version of a modern office worker’s scribbles on a post-it note.

The 6.6in (17cm) chunk of sandstone was discovered by an amateur archaeologist from the bottom of a deep quarry in Over, Cambs., during a university fun day.

Christopher Evans, director of the university’s Archaeological Unit, thinks the concentric circles were created by one of our early ancestors ”killing time” as opposed to a work of art.

Mr Evans said: ”I think it was a doodle. I don’t think it has any deep and meaningful religious significance.

”In this era of the Neolithic period they had a lot of time on their hands. It could show they were quite bored at times, but we don’t know for sure.

”We do know when they weren’t out harvesting or planting crops they had to find a way of killing time.

”There are Megalithic tombs with concentric circles like this carved into stones – the circles are a form of Megalithic art and typical of the grooved ware pottery of the time.

”They liked to use the concentric circle but we don’t know why, it may have been some kind of way to express their world view.

”Although I don’t believe they had a concept of art, these types of circles were used as a form of decoration.”

The rock was discovered by business language teacher Susie Sinclair, 48, at Needingworth Quarry, alongside the River Great Ouse, near Over, on Saturday July 3.

Ms Sinclair was on a geological weekend course being run by the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Continuing Education.

She said she was ”delighted” to discover the work by a Neolithic caveman, made at the time the pyramids were being built.

She said: ”I had not found many fossils when this rock caught my eye.

”It was just resting against a pile of rocks and the sun was shining onto these two circles. I thought it was a fossilised worm.

”I picked it up and showed it to our course leader Dr Peter Sheldon who realised it was more significant than a fossilised worm.

”He took a photo and sent it to Christopher Evans and the director of Stonehenge and that is when we realised it was serious.

”I’m an accidental archaeologist so I didn’t know what it was. It’s really quite a beautiful object and amazing to think someone did this 4,500 years ago.

”Everyone who has seen it has interpreted it differently. It’s a talking point whether it’s a piece of art or a meaningless doodle.

”Some people think it is a pair of eyes or a map. I think it’s more than just a doodle and I hope one day we’ll find out.”

Historians agree concentric circle “Grooved Ware” art has been found on pottery in other areas of the country, but never encountered in Eastern England before.

The stone will make its first public appearance since it was discovered at the Over Village Carnival today(SAT).

The remains of several prehistoric villages have been discovered in recent years in areas surrounding Over.

According to the latest research at the time the Over Stone was being carved, the countryside was dominated by the snaking River Ouse which broke up the area into a delta-like landscape of small islands, channels and marshlands.

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