Look what we found today in the Archive for the Future!

We are fully aware that understanding the past helps us understand our modern world better, and Dr. Enzmann contributed to this understanding in many, many ways. In today’s case, we have a document from the Archive; he spent 40 years translating a language that was inscribed into thousands of small stones during the Bølling ice ages around 12,500 BC. The image below is of a small stone, about the size of your palm, from Gönnersdorf, Germany, and astonishingly provides insight on how people living through the Bølling ice age utilized their surroundings to safely heat their homes – not caves, homes!

Not just anyone can build a hearth. It takes education and skill. But the stone shown here tells us that people knew not only how to assemble a safe environment for an open fire inside their winter homes made of hides, but also had systems in place to burn efficient fires using fuel that wouldn’t poison them with monoxide or burn their house down.

Charcoal provides wonderfully warm fires but is too dangerous to burn inside. Many other materials burn off uncertain gasses and smokes into the air. So, what did they use to contain the fire, burn safe materials and do it all efficiently to survive the ice-age winters when outside?

This small stone that Dr. Enzmann translated answers those questions. He finds the lead-lines, lead-lanes, clusters of link-lines and repetitive symbol system here, telling us that:

  • There is a horse, or maybe a bull, and their legs hang down with many link lines and reoccurring patterns surrounding them, including the circles you see near the center, which is exactly what it looks like – horse poop (or bull-***). One of the most efficient fuels for indoor fires is dried manure. Throw it against the barn wall and see what sticks – what dries is what you burn. These are known as animal chips and they also burned peat, fats, oils, and fatty animal bones.
  • Did you know that since colder air is thicker, it in turn, has more oxygen which is better for combustion? The stone tells us that we knew this over 14,000 years ago. It explains an air channel from the outside, through the roof, and into the hearth area provides cool air for the fire to burn. You certainly can’t open the front door to let the cold air in and waste all the warm air that’s already been accumulated in the room! The channel also acts as a flume for the smoke, so the inhabitants don’t breath poisoned air.

On the other side of this small stone there is a hole in the center. This was used as a palmstone, mostly during hunting trips. A person sets the stone in the palm of their hand and puts a stick in the hollow. Either they, or a second person, use a firebow, horsehair cord wrapped around the stick, drawing it back and forth, spinning the stick faster than can be done by hand. Add a little dried horse dung and that will spark up quite nicely!

At first glance, these translations may seem farfetched, but as you spend more time reading through his book, it becomes blatantly obvious that his translations of these patterns, their functions, and the repeated symbology over these stones are clearly speaking to us systematically. Included below are some of his symbol translations, and even more interesting, when you look to the top right of the image, he explains three of the verb-type inscriptions he found there.

This entire work is an incredible contribution to modern-day linguistic knowledge, but we love to keep things light here at FREA, so why not talk about the usefulness of horse poop! In the history of the United States, cattle herders discovered that bullsh** burns quite well. They were called cow patties! Find out more about his full translation of Ice Age Languages, or purchase a copy of your own in our bookstore!

Linguistic Timeline