Grotte de Bayol

Image: Dr E. Drouot
Image: Dr E. Drouot

The Grotte de Bayol in the Gard department of France is thought to be around 20,000 years old.

This goat is situated in the entrance corridor. Apparently there are remnants of two other drawings of goats in the same corridor. The goat is interesting because it appears to have the Chinese radical mǐn on its abdomen. This is similar to what we see at the Abri du Poisson where there are two mǐn, meaning feast.

The question that I have for the archaeologists and astronomers is therefore does this cave also refer to a specific feast, and if so which one? There are some symbols on entering the cave which may refer to the azimuth. They are set in three natural arcs in the rock (Observer, Earth, and Sky), and are associated with a symbol of an angle.

Image: Dr E. Drouot
Image: Dr E. Drouot

I puzzled over the first symbol (on the right) for some time. My hypothesis is that it represents segments of a circle, and refers to the solar term. Then we have the Suzhou numerals for oneand four . Hence, a solar longitude of 14 degrees, which would give us a date of around 4 April. That coincides with the Chinese festival of Qīngmíng. Perhaps goat kid was the dish of choice for another festival occuring at the same time of year.


Image Credits:

Both images are from: Dr E. Drouot: Les peintures de la grotte Bayol à Collias (Gard) et l'art pariétal en Languedoc méditerranéen: Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française: Année 1953: Volume 50: Numéro 7-8. From: bspf_0249-7638_1953_num_50_7_5147: Accessed: 6 November 2012.

Dessin du bouquetin: Dr E. Drouot: p. 396 fig. 3.

Angle aigu et signes élémentaires rouges: Dr E. Drouot: p. 395 fig. 2.