Astronomy at Abri Blanchard
‘The original Zhuānxū calendar began ....... at the start of spring when the sun, moon and five planets met in Yíngshì.’
Liú Xiàng, circa 25 BCE¹
Zhuānxū was a mythological emperor of ancient China, who is said to have lived perhaps four or five thousand years ago.
Yíngshì is a Chinese constellation that corresponds to part of the constellation known in the West as Pegasus.
The photograph (above) is of a 35,000 year old engraved bone from the Abri Blanchard in the Dordogne department of France. It has been described by both Alexander Marshack² and Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez³, as a lunar calendar.
I have studied the notation on bone in the light of what Liú Xiàng said about the Zhuānxū calendar. My conclusion is that the bone would be better described as a pocket almanac.
Let’s begin by considering the Moon.
Engraved and shaped bone plaque from the rock shelter site of Blanchard (Dordogne). Aurignacian.: Alexander Marshack, 1972: The Roots of Civilization: The Cognitive Beginnings of Man’s First Art, Symbol and Notation, p.45, Fig. 7: Weidenfeld and Nicholson: © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology: Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology: Peabody ID Number: 2005.16.318.38: Digital File Number: 98520110: Engraved Bone, Abri Blanchard: https://www.peabody.harvard.edu/
1. Liú Xiàng, 77-6 BCE: Hong Fan Zhuan: Source: Pang, K. D. & Bangert, J. A., 1993: The Holy Grail of Chinese Astronomy: The Sun-Moon-Five-Planet Conjunction in Yíngshì (Pegasus) on March 5, 1953 BC: American Astronomical Society, 182nd AAS Meeting, #72.01; Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 25, p.922: http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1993AAS...182.7201P: Accessed: 24 June 2013
2. Alexander Marshack, 1972: The Roots of Civilization: The Cognitive Beginnings of Man’s First Art, Symbol and Notation
3. Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez, 2005: Aux racines de l’astronomie, ou l'ordre caché d'une oeuvre paléolithique: Antiquités nationals 2005, no37, pp. 43-62, Musée des antiquités nationales, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France