4,700 years ago our ancestors were in front row at a volcano eruption

Volcanic eruptions are not a new phenomenon. Our ancestors were confronted with it about 5,000 years ago. There was one big difference: instead of fleeing from it, they were fascinated by the noise of the eruption, the magma, and the smoke. And they stood in the front row to draw pictures of the fascinating spectacle.

Researchers at Hacettepe University in Turkey found some rock drawings, some 20 minutes walk from the Cakallar volcano. And around these drawings are also some well-preserved footprints: the ‘Kula footprints’ because they are in Kula, a volcanic area in Turkey. They had been known for a long time, but the scientists wondered if the two had anything to do with each other.


The footprints come from humans (and canines), and the axes emanating from a recent volcanic eruption, kept their footprints so well preserved.

The footprints were discovered in the 1960s, but they were not able to date them correctly. Thus, at an initial estimate, they would have been 250,000 years old, coming from the Neanderthals. Eventually, with modern measuring techniques, researchers managed to link the footprints to our ancestors who ran around the globe about 4,700 funds.

Scientists assumed that the footsteps were directed away from the volcano because people fled from the eruption. In reality, they were walking towards the volcanic eruption.

Red petroglyphs

4,700 years ago our ancestors were in front row at a volcano eruption

And some red rock drawings – long known to the locals, but only recently included in scientific research-confirmed the researchers’ suspicions. About two kilometers from the footprints near the volcano, a few rocks were drawn in red. Because the volcanic eruption was a peculiar sight for our ancestors, they probably wanted to perpetuate it.

The image shows a round shape in the middle, which, according to the researchers, points to the volcano. Around there, lines were drawn to sketch the red lava. “It is quite possible that they were one of the first volcanologists in the world,” said the researchers.

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