Ice Age mapmakers?

Authors: Bernie Taylor*,
Topics: History of Geography, Geographic Thought, Geographic Theory
Keywords: Animal Geography, History of Geography, History of Maps
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: Download

Ancient mapmakers often depicted animals and supernatural beings to designate regions where they were believed to exist. This tradition is carried forth in the present where we use animals and caricatures of them to mascot political and geographic regions as well as athletic teams and educational institutions. The tradition may have originated in prehistory where Ice Age artists depicted animals they presumably had seen. This poster explores such animals that were unique within and outside of the Iberian Peninsula, along with supernatural characters, sequentially depicted more than 34,000 years ago on a wall in an Iberian cave. These images may help us to better understand the early evolution of mapmaking, why animals and supernatural beings came to be depicted in maps, and how we learned to find ourselves in time and space.


Pike, A.W.G. et al. 2012. U-series dating of Paleolithic art in 11 caves in Spain. Science. 336 (6087):1409-1413.

Taylor, Bernie. 2017. Before Orion: Finding the Face of the Hero. Aquila Media Group.

Taylor, Bernie. Teaching Astronomy through Art and Myth. Poster presented at: “Education and Heritage in the Era of Big Data in Astronomy”, International Astronomical Union IAUS 367; 2020 Dec 8-12; Argentina. (View Online -

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