Rouffignac: The Flood
The Grotte de Rouffignac is thought to have been occupied around 13,000 years ago.
People tend to develop close bonds with their working animals. I think that we can see evidence of this at Grotte de Rouffignac. There was a pictogram for mammoth in use at the cave (image on the right). However, when it came to recording the loss of some of those animals in a flood, the artist used beautiful engravings to depict the animals.
The flood is recorded in a series of panels. The first picture below is a simple depiction of heavy, driving rain.
My interpretation of this second image is that, it depicts more rain being blown by the wind. To the right of centre, we can see the character gǔn 丨. It is an ideograph for vertical things, so a good translation for this panel might be downpour.
Next we see an engraving of a mammoth pictured in heavy rain (above). This is followed by mammoths drowning in a flood (below).
In the flood drawing, I have used 'modern' characters to mark the position of the glyphs that describe the event. The actual glyphs resemble the modern characters, but are not of course identical.
The river is represented by streams coming together as a larger body of water: the character chuān 巛. The volume of water is indicated by the number of lines; the more lines, the more water. Thus, the flood waters above the first mammoth’s head are represented by four lines.
Next to the river, is the character shān 彡, meaning to rise.
The story begins in the bottom right hand corner with yīyī 〡〡, meaning one by one. This is placed on a mammoth’s head. Only part of the animal is depicted. Perhaps this animal had already drowned.
Moving left, the next animal depicted appears to be complete. Near the animal’s trunk, we see the character bāo 勹, meaning envelop. The animal is enveloped by the flood waters.
On the last animal there are four more glyphs:
gǔn 丨, meaning to drop; indicating that the animal was dragged down;
yǐn 乚, meaning to conceal or cover; telling us that the animal disappeared under the water;
a character that I haven’t been able to identify, but which may be a handwritten form of the character rén 人, which has been inverted to convey the idea of a drowned corpse (The natural position for a drowned body is to float head down in the water.), and;
yì 丿, meaning movement.
Hence, we are told that the animals were drowned and carried away.
Mammoth symbol: Drawing: Lynn Fawcett, April 2013: After Kevin Sharpe, 2003: Report II from Grotte de Rouffignac: Figure 6. A motif with spiral ends: Source: http://www.ksharpe.com/word/AR43.htm: Accessed: 20 April 2013
Heavy, driving rain: Drawing: Lynn Fawcett, September 2013: After Photo: Kevin Sharpe and Leslie Van Gelder, September 2006: Human Uniqueness and Upper Paleolithic ‘Art’: Figure 7. The panel of flutings provisionally analyzed using Zipf’s Law: http://www.ksharpe.com/word/AR97.htm: Accessed: 21 October 2012
More rain: Drawing: Lynn Fawcett, September 2013: After Photo: Kevin Sharpe and Leslie Van Gelder, June 2006: Four Forms of Finger Fluting as seen in the Rouffignac Cave, France: Figure 5. Rugolean Form Flutings in Chamber G: http://www.ksharpe.com/word/AR95.htm: Accessed: 21 October 2012
Mammoth in heavy rain: Drawing: Lynn Fawcett, October 2013: After Photo: Kevin Sharpe and Leslie Van Gelder, December 2004: The Finger Flutings of Rouffignac and Gargas Caves, France: Slide 35. G, Discovery Mammoths, I: http://www.ksharpe.com/word/AR70_files/frame.htm: Accessed: 21 October 2012
The Flood: Drawing: Lynn Fawcett, October 2013: After Photo: Jean Plassard: Igarashi, J.: Chronologie de la réalisation d'une frise de mammouths dans la grotte de Rouffignac (Dordogne, France), Congrès de l’IFRAO, septembre 2010 – Symposium: L’art pléistocène en Europe (Pré-Actes). Source: Don's Maps: http://donsmaps.com/images19/mammothfriezecolourb.jpg: Accessed: 21 October 2012