Cave Script uses a rod numeral system that resembles Suzhou numerals.

Image: Norbert Aujoulat © MCC-CNP: Annotation: Lynn Fawcett
Image: Norbert Aujoulat © MCC-CNP: Annotation: Lynn Fawcett

This first example (above) is found at the very end of a narrow corridor at Lascaux known as the Chamber of the Felines. The numbers read from right to left. A space denotes zero.

The second example (below) is a copy of an engraving from the same chamber. I particularly like the image, because not only does it incorporate the number 124, it also has a pictograph of the rod used for measuring angles. You can see it just above the back of the cat on the left. In this instance the rod is not straight. It appears to mark the intersection of two rays (lines).

Image: André Glory
Image: André Glory

Reading from top to bottom and right to left, in the area circled below, we have:

shí , ten;

èr , two;

, four.

If we then measure an angle of 124 degrees from the bǔ, we find that this ray matches one of the rays in the pictograph of the rod. The other ray appears to be at angle of 115 degrees to the bǔ.

Image: André Glory: Annotation: Lynn Fawcett
Image: André Glory: Annotation: Lynn Fawcett

Author's Note

The theme in the second example seems to resemble that of the Well. There is a bǔ that may represent the meridian, and an angle that gives us the azimuth of the midwinter sunset (360 - 124 = 236 degrees). This may therefore be another sky map.


Image Credits:

Signe XIII Le Diverticule des Félins: Norbert Aujoulat © MCC-CNP: Picture from: Lascaux: Visite de la Grotte: Ministry of Culture, France: Accessed: 21 August 2012

Number 124 Le Diverticule des Félins: Drawing by André Glory: From Lascaux Inconnu, Arlette Leroi-Gourhan and Jacques Allain (eds), 1979, CNRS Editions.