Representation of Cancer on the ivory board.
Researchers exploring a Croatian cave have discovered a 2,000-year-old astrology board, believed to be the oldest such astrologer’s tool ever found. Surviving portions include 30 ivory fragments engraved with the zodiac signs for Cancer, Gemini and Pisces.
According to LiveScience.com:
"This is probably older than any other known example," according to Alexander Jones, a professor at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. "It's also older than any of the written-down horoscopes that we have from the Greco-Roman world ~ we have a lot of horoscopes that are written down as a kind of document on papyrus or on a wall but none of them as old as this."
Archaeologists are uncertain of the board’s origins. Astrology originated in Babylon around 2,400 years ago. Around 2,100 years ago, it spread to the eastern Mediterranean, becoming popular in Egypt, which at the time was under the control of a dynasty of Greek kings.
"It gets modified very much into what we think of as the Greek style of astrology, which is essentially the modern style of astrology," Jones said. "The Greek style is the foundation of astrology that goes through the Middle Ages and into modern Europe, modern India (and) so on."
Radiocarbon dating shows that the ivory used to create the zodiac images dates back around 2,200 years ago, shortly before the appearance of this new form of astrology.
Croatian cave where researchers found the board.