By interpreting the animals as astronomical symbols, and using software to match their positions to patterns of stars, researchers dated the event to 10,950BC.The dating from the carvings agrees well with timing derived from an ice core from Greenland, which pinpoints the event – probably resulting from the break-up of a giant comet in the inner solar system – to 10,890BC.
The age of these man-made structures are difficult to ascertain, but generally they are believed to have been produced in the bronze-age and Upper Paleolithic although some, for example in North America and Europe, were generated at a later date.
Visually, they may resemble omarolluks, a naturally occurring feature of sedimentary rock occurring exclusively in the Belcher Islands, an archipelago accounting for 0.25% of Hudson Bay, whence they are thought to have been spread by glaciers.
They ushered in a cold climate that lasted more than 1,000 years.
Engineers studied animal carvings made on a pillar – known as the vulture stone – at the site.
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Evidence from a historic site appears to confirm the date of a comet strike that killed thousands.
Similar objects can be found on all continents except Antarctica.
They are associated with Celtic Europe, prehistoric Australia, Borneo and the Middle East.
Cup and ring marks are also common in the Atlantic and alpine regions of Europe, sometimes associated with complex petroglyphs or megalithic monuments.
One encyclopedia of archaeology treats "pitted stone," "cupstones," and "nutting stones" as synonyms and says that they "may have been formed by cracking nutshells, though this activity lacks adequate confirmation through ethnographic examples or published experimentation." These objects have received little study, perhaps because edged tools and weapons have more intrinsic interest to private collectors, but closer study of them might reveal something of domestic practices and toolmaking technology.
There are several ethnographic accounts of the Native use of nutting stones in the historic times.