Ancient drawings discovered in a cave in the Czech Republic suggest that the
invention of the wheel may have been followed by a prehistoric ‘promotional
campaign’ extolling the virtues of the wheel.
The drawings are thought to date from 10,000 years ago, around the time many
believe the wheel was invented, and show humans apparently deriving strength
and power from the wheel.
“One can imagine primitive humans being suspicious of this new invention,” said
Dr. Dmitri Szawjk, leader of the team of archaeologists that has been studying the
caves near the village of Ostrov u Macochy. “It would appear that someone decided to
try to communicate the benefits of the wheel via these drawings, perhaps to
encourage others to obtain and use one.”
The Szawjk drawings
Running his finger along the dimly-lit wall, Dr. Szawjk interprets the line of
symbols etched onto the surface: “Wheel…Make you feel strong…Have wheel…
Szawjk believes the drawings offer a glimpse into the far reaches of human
history and illustrate how far we have come as a species.
“These images show that humans were far less intelligent then and could have
been persuaded to acquire something they didn’t really want simply by being
exposed to a few crude images,” said Szawjk. “Of course, we are far more
Wheel good. Defeat others.
Szawjk believes these and other drawings may have played an integral part in the
spread of the wheel amongst human communities in the western hemisphere.
The last image in the group remains a puzzle, however. It depicts two male
figures engaging in some for of celebratory dance in honour of the wheel. The
figures appear to have penile erections.
“This is the most mysterious drawing,” says Szawjk. “It suggests the artist is
trying to associate the wheel with masculinity and virility. But I doubt even
our primitive ancestors would have felt that way about an inanimate object.”