Deciphering the Y rock art sign

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This article will decipher the rock art sign Y. This deciphering will be done using the proto-Sumerian ideographic language and its associated languages: Sumerian and Hieroglyphic (as well as Demotic). This article is one of ten deciphering examples taken from the book “Deciphering the language of caves” that illustrate in concrete terms the fact that the pairs of animals and signs identified by archaeologists and dated to the Upper Palaeolithic actually correspond in every respect to the protosumerian ideographic language, the oldest known ideographic language.

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This article is an excerpt from the book also available on this site:

Volume 2 Book 2 Deciphering the language of the caves

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Deciphering the Y rock art sign



While we’re on the subject of deer, I think it’s a good idea to explain the meaning of the Y signs which, according to observers, are constant in rock representations and are often associated with animal forms.

Before doing so, I would ask you to be careful not to confuse the transliteration of a sign in Y, i.e. in the sound y, with the sign Y, which in archaic languages may have a completely different way of being pronounced.

We’re interested here in the sign Y, and we’re going to find out how to pronounce it and to which senses it refers.


Given that we find two types of Y in the scripts we’ve already used – proto-cuneiform and demotic – it’s useful to segment this analysis into “normal” Y signs, i.e. those identical to our Latin Y sign, and inverted Y signs.



The normal Y sign





We can already identify as a y sign sign N°35B in the appended comparative table.

This sign is transliterated pap[1] , which refers us to the human father leader[2] (we have already stated this in the symbolism of the star).


Clearly, the simple form designates the father, and the addition of a stroke as with or is the sign of his phallus; this, by analogy with the comparison we made between the sign ñiš or ñeš and , which are equivalent logograms and where we identified the extra stroke in the rectangle of as being the sign of the phallus (since designates a phallus).


The y designating the father, “papa”, is used to represent him in the ithyphallic position, as the primordial fertile father.




If we look at the meaning of the form y in Demotic, it is interesting to note three possible meanings:


The s sign


The demotic sign which transliterates as “s” and corresponds to the hieroglyphic s which, as we have seen, designates “a man, a man of high rank”[3] is written either or ? :

  ! [4] 

For example, here’s how to write sa:   [5] and how to write sA: [6]  the latter meaning “son” in demotic as well as in hieroglyphic [7]

Based on the demotic, we must therefore consider the hypothesis that y designates not only the father, but also the son.

It’s basically the same person since the son is the reincarnation of the father, but this sign would then put on the father’s condition after his successful regeneration, once therefore reincarnated as his son.


The š sign


The sign that transliterates “S” in demotic, in other words the corresponding perfect of the hieroglyphic rectangle that we have analyzed, which transliterates S [8] and is the symbol of the father as seminal canal, is written or and also :

! and so upside down :

As you can see, it is analogous to one of the equivalent signs of the proto-cuneiform i.e.: for pab, pap, pa4 the human father ruler[9] .


The sign for “i


Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that the “i“, with its inverted T shape, can sometimes look like a “y“.

For example: iAw   [10]  or iAwt   [11] 


And we remember that “i” has the meaning of “Ô / heil”…


The sign for “a”


In Demotic, the sign for “a” is written or ;


Or both at the same time, as for “a” alone, which is written [12] 

And what does this “a” mean in demotic? The fact of being big, greatness, pride, it also designates the house, the temple, the… canal…[13]  which we know is a symbol of the father.

Incidentally, this demotic a is obviously the counterpart of the hieroglyphic aA, which also designates greatness and… an elder and… a donkey…[14] ! Everything overlaps…

The single y can also be used to designate “a”:

For example:

amA   [15]


It is interesting to note that this sign group is indicated as relating to HN in the Demotic lexicon!!! :


Do you realize what this equivalence hn = aan means?

This is further confirmation that the hieroglyphic Hn which, as we have seen, means human and the hieroglyphic hnn for deer[17] have a direct semantic link with aan, which in sumerian designates the high father, the donkey his avatar[18] and is the name of the Sumerian father of gods, the god An.


But, to return to the y, note that the double y is ultimately used to say a-a.

As a result, only one y transliterates a: father.


Unquestionably, the y is the sign of the father.


Resemblance to L?


A remark : we saw in the examination of the Chinese horse the sign L in demotic and we may wonder if the demotic L cannot also assume the form of a Y: like the proto-Indian below:




As a reminder, the sign that probably corresponds to the L in Proto-Indian also looks like a .

We have seen that this L is the sign of a cry, of the father, of weeping and lamentations.


Even if this script has not been deciphered, it probably conveys the meanings or one of the meanings I’ve mentioned (given the proximity in time and geography between Sumer and the Indus), even if it’s not necessarily pronounced the same way.



The inverted Y sign





The sign is an inverted Y sign that transliterates tar.[19]

Now, tar carries with it the meaning of deciding and also of cutting, destroying[20] .

What helps us to understand who this ruler, this woodcutter, this destroyer is is the fact that d / t are also mutually interchangeable consonants in Sumerian[21] , as they sometimes are in Egyptian[22] (just as “ñ”, “g”, “k” are mutually interchangeable consonants in Sumerian).

Or designates dar the equivalent of tar?

dar designates a billy goat, a stag, an ibex by duraĥ, dàra, dàr,[23] ; which binds or is bound by dára, dár[24] ; which cuts, breaks, annihilates[25] by dar ; which is both elevated and in obscure, dark places having gone beyond (or into the beyond…) by dara4, dar4


Thus, it’s perfectly understandable that this Y represents a horned animal, in this case the billy goat, the stag and the ibex, all three of which are, as we’ll see in greater detail in the following books for the various reasons mentioned, animal avatar figures of the primordial father.


So it’s all the more natural to find it associated with animal forms.


Note in passing that this brief explanation provides a first brief explanation of the identity of the ibex that lends its two prominent horns on the rump of the first great auroch in the first panel of the Lascaux unicorn, horns that form the sign “afor father.

Visual reminder:

(cf: Chapter on rock art signs / 3 Marsoulas the Bison Panel / the sign of the two parallel horns)


in démotic


Finally, it’s remarkable that the inverted y refers to the human.


Indeed, note how rmt which means “a man” is transcribed in demotic:

or [26]


This rmt is of course equivalent to the hieroglyphic rT  or rmT rt or rmt Tt tm which all mean “a man or men or the human race” (or the Egyptians). Ditto for rmTt rTt, rtmt[27] .



Conclusion on the Y



We have seen that the normal Y :

  • in Proto-Cuneiform refers to “papa” in Sumerian pap, the fertile progenitor in the ithyphallic position
  • in Demotic refers to “a man, a man of high rank”.
  • in demotic Sa refers to a son (reminder: the reincarnation of the father)
  • in demotic to “Ô, Heil” with “i
  • in demotic by “a” for great, greatness, channel (symbolic synonym for father) equivalent to the hieroglyphic aA, greatness, an elder and … a donkey
  • by aan equivalent of Hn / hnn to human, to deer and equivalent of sumerian a-an or an the high father, to his avatar of the donkey and father of the Sumerian gods An.
  • in demotic a double yy gives aa and a single gives a, so we’re talking about the father.

We have seen that the inverted Y :

  • in proto-cuneiform is a symbol by tar/dar of the stag, the goat, avatar of the father attached, destructive, in an obscure condition then elevated
  • in demotic by rmt it designates man, in harmony with its hieroglyphic correspondents which designate man, the human, the human race.

The next time you see a Y on a rock fresco, you’ll want to think about all this.






[1] 35B (CNIL, 1996?, pp. 160, 161) ; (Falkenstein, 1936, pp. 62-66)


[2] pab, pap, pa4 : father; brother; man; leader (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 22) ; Cf Volume 4 / Sumerian-French lexicon: pab, pap, pa4= father; brother; man; leader


[3] Cf Volume 4 / Lexique hiéroglyphes-français: s (z) door bolt ornamental container sheaf of arrows or man ; someone; nobody, no one, nil; man of rank (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 255)


[4] / S, p.1


[5] Sources:; Gardiner p. 491, N37

Garden pond

S basin. Often interchanged in the hieroglyphic with N36 e.g. in Hapyw floods; compare with the use of N36 both as an arm of the Nile, and in its use in the earlier form N23, as an irrigation canal. Sometimes replaces bread (phonetic sn ) e.g. in sn open.


[6] / S, p.1


[7] Cf Volume 4 / Lexique hiéroglyphes-français : sA (zA) : fils; son de dos maggot se rendre à entrave à bétail étable amulette, talisman protection (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 256)


[8] Sources:; Gardiner p. 491, N37

Same note as note 5 five above.


[9] pab, pap, pa4: father; brother; man; leader (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 22) ; Cf Volume 4 / Sumerian-French lexicon: pab, pap, pa4 = father, brother, man, leader


[10] / i, p.4


[11] / i, p.4


[12] / a (choose the small letter indicated as c), p.1


[13] / a (choose the small letter indicated as c), p.2


[14] Cf Volume 4 / Lexique hiéroglyphes-français: aA column, pillar large; abundant, multiple; rich in; elder notable; eldest son; grandeur door; bourricot, donkey; aAt donkey. (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 45) 


[15] / a (choose the small letter indicated as c), p.35


[16] / a (choose the small letter indicated as c), p.44


[17] Cf Volume 4 / Hieroglyphic-French Lexicon: hnn deer, fallow deer be attentive to, take into consideration; trust; give assent to; approve; coax; antonym of HDn be reluctant, disapprove (Neo-Egyptian) (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 196)


[18] Certainly, in Demotic, aan is given to be the ape, but this should not mislead us, for the ape is also one of its avatars by its sumerian synonymy with the term ancestor and Egyptian with that of man; we’ll see this in the following books.


[19] (CNIL, 1996?, p. 204)


[20] Tar :  v., to cut; to decide; to determine; to inquire; to smoke; to break, destroy (ta, ‘from’, + ur4,, ‘to shear, reap’; cf., dar and nam…tar) adj., deliberate, judicious (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 45) ; Volume 4 / Sumerian-French Lexicon: Tar = cut, decide, determine, inquire, smoke, break, destroy (ta, ‘from’ + ur4, ‘to shear, reap’; cf. dar and nam…tar). adj., deliberate, judicious.


[21] Volume 4 Sumerian lexicon / Consonant equivalents: The letters

“d” and “t” are sometimes equivalent. We have an example with the logogram “” which is a strict equivalent of “tu”:

tud, tu, dú = to bear, give birth to; to beget; to be born; to make, fashion, create; to be reborn, transformed, changed (to approach and meet + to go out) (A.Halloran, 1999, p. 24) ; Volume 4 / Sumerian-French Lexicon = dú = tud = tud, tu, dú = to bear, to give birth to; to beget; to make, fashion, create; to be reborn, transformed, changed (to approach and meet + to go out).


[22] The d / t equivalence can be seen in Egyptian, for example :

Cf Volume 4 / Hieroglyphic-French lexicon: At un agresseur (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 8) variation of Adw un agresseur / (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 8)


[23] duraĥ, dàra, dàr: goat, stag, fallow deer, mountain deer; ibex (dur, “link” + áĥi “arm”)


[24] dára, dár: belt, frame (compare with dur, “link”). Verbs: to tie, to pack.


[25] dar: francolin, pheasant. Verb: to slice, to cut; to break, to shatter, to annihilate (da, “side” + ur4, “to mow, to harvest”).


[26] / letter r p.37


[27] Cf Volume 4 / Hieroglyphic-French Lexicon: rT or rmT rt or rmt Tt tm man; men, human kind; the Egyptians (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 186) ; rmTt men, human kind; also rTt, rtmt (Faulkner, reed.2017, p. 186)




Proto-sumerian :

CNIL. Full list of proto-cuneiform signs

& Falkenstein, A. (1936). Archaische Texte aus Uruk. :

Sumerian :

A.Halloran, J. [1999]. Sumerian Lexicon 3.0.

Heroglyphic :

Faulkner. [réed .2017]. Concise dictionary of Middle Egyptian.

Hiero ( (Hiero – Pierre Besson)

Demotic :

The Demotic Dictionary of the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures of the University of Chicago | Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures (

Hieroglyphic Hittite :

Mnamon / Antiche scritture del Mediterraneo Guida critica alle risorse elettroniche / Luvio geroglifico – 1300 a.C. (ca.) – 600 a.C.

Archaeology :

Leroi-Gourhan, A. (1958). Le symbolisme des grands signes dans l’art pariétal paléolithique. Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française Année 55-7-8 pp. 384-398.

G.& S Sauvet et André Wlodarczyk (1977) : Essai de sémiologie préhistorique (pour une théorie des premiers signes de l’homme). Bulletin de la société préhistorique française / année 1977 / E&T 47-2 / p.545-558

Science of Symbols :

Chevalier-Gheebrant [2005]. Dictionnaire des Symboles. Paris: Robert Laffont.

Mythologies :

Guirand, J. [1996]. Mythes et Mythologie. Paris ; Larousse

Link between Chaldean and the Catholic religion :

A.Hislop. [s .d.]. Les deux Babylones.



This article is an excerpt from the book also available on this site:

Volume 2 Book 2 Deciphering the language of the caves

You can also find this book here :

Already published books

To find out why this book is part of the literary series The True Stories of Mankind’s Religions, go to page :

Introduction / Structure and Content

Partager :