With Facebook’s public offering now a thing of the past, it seems like a good time to look at a much older version of social networking…petroglyphs. What was the Bronze Age Facebook?
Ancient Petroglyphs = An Ancient Facebook?
Starting around 4000 BC, semi-nomadic people began to carve petroglyphs on granite rocks in western Russia and northern Sweden. These people would move inland during colder months to hunt elk while spending warmer months fishing near the coasts.
In the ensuing generations, more people traveled through these areas and carved their own petroglyphs into the rocks. Everything from animals to people to boats were depicted on these boulders. Recently, a PhD archaeology student named Mark Sapwell analyzed the images.
“The rock art we see today is the result of a culmination of many repeated acts of carving, each responding to each other over time. Like a Facebook status invites comment, the rock art appears very social and invites addition.” ~ Mark Sapwell
Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis
Many of the petroglyphs were exact replications of other images, which Sapwell considers an analogy to “a primitive like.” Also, the petroglyphs indicate changes in preference over time. Images of hybrid creatures lost popularity around 3500 BC. And the Swedish rocks show a decline in elk pictures around 2000 to 1800 BC. This decline is coupled with a rise in boat carvings, pointing to the increasing importance in long-distance travel.
“Like today, people have always wanted to feel connected to each other — this was an expression of identity for these very early societies, before written language.” ~ Mark Sapwell