## World’s oldest animation, 5,200 years old

Film showing images from a 5,200-year old bowl from an ancient burial site in Iran.

An Italian team of archaeologists unearthed the bowl goblet in the 1970s from a burial site in Iran’s Burnt City, but it was only recently that researchers noticed the images on the bowl tell an animated visual story.

The oldest cartoon character in the world is a goat leaping to get the leaves on a tree.

The artefact bears five images depicting a wild goat jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree, which the members of the team at that time had not recognised the relationship between the pictures.

Several years later,Iranian archaeologist Dr Mansur Sadjadi, who became later appointed as the new director of the archaeological team working at the Burnt City discovered that the pictures formed a related series.

The bowl has some controversy associated with it. Some researchers claimed the tree on the bowl to be the Assyrian Tree of Life, but the bowl dates to a period before the Assyrian civilization.

Now this is deeply cool. The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) in Iran has made a short film using the images on a bowl from the Burnt City. The Burnt City (Shar-i Sokhta) is a site in Iran that dates to about 2600 BC, and has seen some decades of investigation. The bowl shows five images of a wild goat leaping, and if you put them in a sequence (like a flip book), the wild goat leaps to nip leaves off a tree.

Bugs Bunny has nothing to worry about yet, if you ask me.

Animate discussion, share the word:

### 174 Responses to World’s oldest animation, 5,200 years old

1. [...] I wrote about the bowl back in 2008.  I learned of it from Kris Hirst at About.com, and I thought it was interesting.  “Animation” in the headline, at spring break, and tens of thousands of kids took a look at the little .gif animation from photos of the bowl.  The post took about ten minutes to compose, and it remains the single most popular post ever at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub (even more popular than the posts about the imaginary Texas chainsaw massacre). [...]

3. Ed Darrell says:

Until someone has actual proof when this bowl, if it actual existed, came into being, or when the so-called Cradle of Life began, then I’ll listen.

Gary, it’s been dated to 2600 B.C.E.

4. Aidan says:

That’s great for their time.

5. Aidan says:

Wow, that must have been amazing for the people in their time, but still it’s amazing thinking about it now.

6. Gary Christopher says:

First off, to the kid that wants the 5200 year old dog: he’s dead, he’s been dead for quite some time, and I’m sure he smells like death, too. He probably smells like your baby brother’s diapers that haven’t been washed in a month. Trust me, kid, keep playing your Barbie Princess video game and let it go.

As for everyone else here, get a life, get a clue, take an ancient history course if need be. You’re all blowing smoke out of your butts. This clip was only done for entertainment. I honestly don’t think the people (Assyrians? Babylonians? Who cares, they’re history) who made these kinds of bowls knew what animation even was.

Until someone has actual proof when this bowl, if it actual existed, came into being, or when the so-called Cradle of Life began, then I’ll listen. Until then, all of you Socrateses or Marie vos Savantses drink your alcohol, smoke your stuff, blow your brains out, for all I care. I don’t give a flying f—! Bone up on your facts, people. Actually, do any of you geniuses know what year our world will end? Is it 2012? 2013? Or when that kid gets his mummified pooch from the 5th millenium BCE. Wow, and I thought I had no life…

7. [...] [upmod] [downmod] World’s oldest animation, 5,200 years old « Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub (timpanogos.wordpress.com) 1 points posted 1 year, 2 months ago by SixSixSix tags imported [...]

8. Mary says:

This is awesome news, so many wonderful items have been discovered at the Burnt City during the archaeological excavations. The Bronze Age is a most important time in Iran as it is believed by many scholars and Iranians to be the period which Zoroaster lived and preached. I firmly believe much more evidence of this period will come to light soon. Thank you for posting!

9. azi says:

hi my name is azrar and i think this all aloud of crap

10. Ed Darrell says:

The mere possibility that the creator of this vessel might have thought through the concept of animation, to show the goat in successive stages of a jump, should call us all to greater respect for these ancient artists.

Until someone comes up with an older example, this remains the world’s oldest animation, doesn’t it? By definition?

11. real scientist says:

i disagree with Mesopotamia

12. Bill nye the science guy says:

I would agree with mesopotamia

13. Mesopotamia says:

This might be the worlds oldest cartoon SO FAR. but scientists are not sure if this is the first animation!

14. Assyria says:

this animation was invented by the Assyrians and not by Iranians.

15. kyan says:

This wasn’t the first “cartoon”.. And I don’t know if I believe this or not, i’d like to see an actual photograph of the pot.. still, that wouldn’t prove it lol

16. fatih says:

teşekkürler dostum , eline sağlık..
http://smallvilledizi.blogspot.com/

17. [...] Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub brought you the world’s oldest animation. [...]

18. [...] قدیمی ترین انیمیشن تاریخ در ایران http://www.tinypic.ws/files/p26yry6te1vvq2m7w2nq.gif An Italian team of archaeologists unearthed the bowl goblet in the 1970s from a burial site in Iran’s Burnt City, but it was only recently that researchers noticed the images on the bowl tell an animated visual story. The oldest cartoon character in the world is a goat leaping to get the leaves on a tree. According to an article in the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies: The artefact bears five images depicting a wild goat jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree, which the members of the team at that time had not recognised the relationship between the pictures. Several years later,Iranian archaeologist Dr Mansur Sadjadi, who became later appointed as the new director of the archaeological team working at the Burnt City discovered that the pictures formed a related series. The bowl has some controversy associated with it. Some researchers claimed the tree on the bowl to be the Assyrian Tree of Life, but the bowl dates to a period before the Assyrian civilization. http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2008…200-years-old [...]

19. [...] first historical evidence of human settlement in the Iranian plateau dates back to well over 10,000 years ago, as [...]

20. [...] I found it floating in Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. [...]

21. [...] Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub This entry was posted by Nathan on March 15th, 2008 at 15:06 and is filed under History, Science. [...]

22. vic says:

This is news to me, because I thought the oldest cartoons were of the Flintstones.

23. [...] World’s oldest animation, 5200 years old « Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub [...]

24. Cartoon says:

thank you . i wish you and your loved one all the very best.

25. [...] read more | digg story [...]

26. [...] read more | digg story [...]

27. [...] Film showing images from a 5,200-year old bowl from an ancient burial site in Iran. An Italian team of archaeologists unearthed the bowl goblet in the 1970s from a burial site in Iran’s Burnt City, but it was only recently that researchers noticed the images on the bowl tell an animated visual story. Click for the Full Article [...]

28. Jack says:

hi i dont think that the cave man had pics yet that moves and you call it a
(CREATIVE SHEEP) come on people it is just a goat!

29. [...] 5,000 year old animation [...]

30. [...] Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, which recently hosted the exciting news of the discovery of the first cartoon. Melting glaciers, dinosaur tracks, Ann Richards; it’s the History Channel I’ve been [...]

31. john says:

Wow this is amazing!! I can’t believe people from back in the stone ages can do this.

32. to Mr. Millard Fillmore,

From: Mr. Richard (Tushie) Tushmore,

Always looking for more tushes, and yes, I love this post on the leaping Cabro, he has an urge to eat Permanent Leaves, I think this could represent a Kenite, just a thoug and not sure of course, no one knows what to think, who knows amen,

33. [...] gives me inordinate delight to say: go see him in action at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. Explore posts in the same categories: Impossibly Great, [...]

34. [...] A animação mais antiga do mundo dtu [...]

35. [...] comments on his animation post. After a surprising number of hits on his 5200-year-old-animation post, Ed makes some very interesting comments on it’s success. Though he is speaking of a [...]

36. [...] oldest playable musical instruments: Listen About that 5,200-year old animation: Was there a musical score to accompany [...]

37. [...] least one hour this past week, the Bathtub got more than 11,000 hits. Who could have foreseen that a post about an ancient piece of pseudo-animation would catch the fancy of so many? I gather that the word “animation” played a key role [...]

38. [...] CAIS, via Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, via good old Boing [...]

39. [...] An Italian team of archaeologists unearthed the bowl in the 1970s from a burial site in Iran’s Burnt City, but it was only recently that researchers noticed the images on the bowl tell an animated visual story.The oldest cartoon character in the world is a goat leaping to get the leaves on a tree.
http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/worlds-oldest-animation-5200-years-old/ [...]

40. [...] very interesting post at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub The oldest cartoon character in the world is a goat leaping to get the leaves on a tree. An Italian [...]

41. hi
i think this animation is the illustration of one of the most ancient Persian books called “Asurik tree”. this book an interesting dialog between a goat and a tree in which each wants to prove its superiority to the other. the story ends when goat eats the tree.

42. ray says:

As lionel has taught me:
YEAH!————–SO

43. Eilrama says:

Hey Eric, I didn’t mean you, I was actually very impressed by your knowledge. I was simply referring to the part in the article which disputes that it could be Assyrian.

It is very hard to place it under either of the civilizations of the Era, besides a few distinct symbols, majority of the people of the area shared gods.

An example can be seen with the Assyrian Winged Bull(Lamasu) and similar shaped objects amongst the Iranian, Indian, and to a lesser extent Egyptian empires/civilizations.

44. Eric says:

You are right Eilrama, but I was only speaking in context of the Persian Empire, There are 4 or 5 major empires that predated the Persian Empire, including the Babylonian and Sumerian Civilizations of Southern and Central Modern day Iraq. I was only trying to convey that this was possibly not the work of Persians (who probably had very similar works), but maybe of some other tribe living in the region prior to the Persian conquest of the Indus Region. I am also not inferring that it is Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian or the product of any other civilization that conquered vast regions of indigenous people and claimed the land for their kingdom but left those people in place. I believe I read one report that labeled it as a possible Cassite artifact.

45. Eilrama says:

I hate to be bearer of bad news, but Assyrian civilization is well over 6000 years old, so if the bowl is 5200 it doesn’t fall outside of the Assyrian civilization.

46. leila says:

ladeeda said Arabs are smart …….. but this animation had been found in Iran ,and Iran is not an Arabic country, with all my respect to Arabs ,Iranians are very different from Arabs.The unique thing that we have with you in common is our religion,both of us are Muslim.

47. Eric says:

Sorry Nathan, you are right about the zero. I was certain, that it wasn’t developed by Arabs, but made an error while rambling. Shideh, I did not mean to imply that the Persians migrated to Iran; I simply meant they were not sole ethnicity to be found in the region, but migrated from the highlands to conquer the Indus river valley area and most of the known world. My point really was that the pottery predated the Persian Empire and that it should be no surprise that these people had the capacity to understand simple animation. Yes you are right, they are a truly remarkable people who have endured the test of time and will continue to endure I am sure. We are fooled by their current state of politics, but now is just tiny sliver of time in their existence. But, Docgrub, I am in no way rewriting the history of the world by stating that the Roman Catholic Church repressed a culture into believing that the world was flat and the solar system revolved around the Earth. Sure there were monks that kept certain manuscripts alive by order of the church, but it was not to be distributed to the masses, it was to be kept locked away within the confines of the Vatican and exposed to the public only on order. The church keeps many records of many things that they consider false or blasphemous. It is just a repository for knowledge not a school to spread the liberal ideas. If the church did not try to repress these ideas then maybe they shouldn’t have punished Copernicus (who was catholic clergy), di Vinci (A Vatican Artist), or any of the other scientists labeled as blasphemers by the church. It really is common knowledge that the church threatened and punished people that opposed their beliefs and authority. Ever hear of the Inquisition (Not the Mel Brooks version). Perhaps that never happened either. I am sorry if you are offended by the truth, but I am Catholic and have no problem admitting the faults of my chosen religion. Without fault, there is no forgiveness. I didn’t mean to get off the pottery subject

48. arsemuch says:

BUGS BUNNY? do get a life.

49. bluesy2008 says:

Probably an undiscovered reason for the story…Did somebody simply want members of the community to recognize this functional art piece as theirs…hmmmm. Fear of famine, drought, invasion or other real issues probably makes this artifact a symbol of survival.

Interesting!

50. [...] 5,000 year old ainmation  [...]

51. mahdi says:

:D :) :)) :( :(( :*

52. angryton says:

I’m very fascinated by Iran… such a great culture, such beautiful women.

53. Ed Darrell says:

Europeans know the inventor as Alhazen . . .

The great grandfather of psychology! See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology#Beginning_of_scientific_psychology

54. Nathan Myers says:

Sorry, it wasn’t the Greeks who invented zero. It was (again) invented in what is now northern India, later copied by the Arabs, and thence to Europe. Probably it was invented by Aryans, unlike the animation presented here.

Arabs do deserve credit for at least one significant invention: science itself. Europeans know the inventor as Alhazen or Alhacen, but his proper name was Abu Ali Al- Hazan ibn Al-Hazan ibn Al-Haytham, commonly abbreviated to al-Haytham. He came from Baghdad, but lived much of his life in Egypt and Syria. He invented the scientific method to apply to his study of optics, which he seems to have conducted while under house arrest in Egypt, pretending insanity to avoid execution for failing to start a doomed project demanded by the local sultan.

55. vanni says:

proud to own a goat

56. 2.0 Weblogs says:

Que dicisite?

57. pixelame.net says:

La animación más antigua del mundo

Encontrado en 1970 en Iran, esta urna funeraria de 5200 años de antigüedad resulta ser la "animación" más antigua que se conoce.

58. jonathanburton says:

This is brilliant — thanks for that illuminating post! No need to be so literal-minded, all you guys… Obviously not a ‘real’ animation as we know it. But maybe a zoetrope-type effect. Must keep eyes open for other examples.

I remember many years ago reading about some research into ‘hearing’ the grooves on ancient Egyptian wheel-turned bowls as if they were primitive gramophone records, the cutting tool acting like a stylus ‘recording’ the shouts and noises around the potter. I never heard any more about this — did anyone else?

59. nwlimited says:

This is great!

60. docgrubb says:

Eric-
you’re re-writing history. It was actually the (catholic) monks of the DARK AGES who laboriously recopied the Aristotle, Plato, et al by hand which prevented their extinction.

61. Jacqueline says:

Wow, thanks for sharing this!

62. Shideh says:

Eric, thank you for your great insight. I’m not sure if what you are saying is completely accurate however, regarding the migration of the Persians to what we call Iran today. My understanding (or what is widely accepted) is that the ancient Indo-European Aryans arrived at the Iranian Plateau around 2000 BCE (not fully known, it may have been 3000 BCE). The Persian language (Parsi or Farsi) and other Iranian languages emerged as these Aryan tribes split up into two major groups of Persians and Medes, and they intermarried with indigenous peoples in the Iranian Plateau (such as the Elamites). It is possible for Indian/Pakistani like cultures to have existed in the region called sistan-baloochestan in Iran today (where the burnt city is located) because the cultures have a lot of similarities and this region is located next to the Pakistani border. The borders and cultures were not as clearly defined those days, however. It is also suggested that a group of these Aryans who migrated to the Iranian Plateau went to what we call India today and mixed with their locals, hence many similarities in their origins.

The Persian Empire, however, did not exist as a unified country until around 550 BCE, when the ancient Persians (one tribe from the Fars province called Pars, Persis, or Persia) spread their language and culture to other parts of the Iranian Plateau through conquest and assimilated local Aryan and non-Aryan groups over time (starting with Cyrus the Great). Note that not all Iranians are Persians, but it later became common to refer to all Iranians as Persians. The name Iran (the way it is pronounced in modern Persian languages) means “Land of the Aryans”, and derives from the Proto-Iranian term Aryanam first attested in Zoroastrianism’s Avesta tradition. There are different theories on the age of Avesta and there are a few archeologists and historians that I met in Iran who believe that Aryans never migrated to Iran and were there from the beginning. I’m not sure if this theory has been widely accepted though.

In summary, I think it is accurate to say that this artifact is in fact from Iran, because it is in the Iranian Plateau, and it is in a country that is called Iran today. You are right, however, that when it was made, it might not have been the Aryans or definitely not the people forming the Persian Empire later who actually built this bowl. You are completely right about the complexity of the inventions in these regions. I think that the formation of the Persian Empire later helped spread knowledge and technology in a wider region of the known world then. I also like your comment about Iran being a country ruled by 8 major cultures in the most volatile region in the world. When I lose hope in the future of this country with all the problems it is currently facing, I always remind myself that Iranians have been through worse many times before and the culture is so strong and rich that despite all it has been through for about 4000 years, the essence of it always survives, moves on, and feeds other cultures.

63. [...] Whoa. Logging on to WordPress this morning, I saw a post from another WP blog. I don’t have much to say about it right now, because I haven’t had the chance to really investigate. But it seems like it would be another perfect post on this blog. Graphics and history. Very nice. 5,200 year old animation. [...]

64. Menezes says:

u-hu!!!

65. Brian Dolton says:

If you put the completed cup on a potter’s wheel, with a frame around it that had holes lined up with the images, then you really would have a simple zoetrope – no blinking required.

I imagine the artist who painted it would have showed the trick off to everyone he or she could find.

Oh, as for the comment above from ladeed re. “Arabas are so smart” – Persia/Iran is not and never has been an Arabic country. Islamic is not the same as Arab. Middle Eastern is not the same as Arab.

66. Eric says:

Also, war has buried history since the beginning of time. This is why we lose knowledge. The winner will always bury the conquered culture in their own and suppress ideas and knowledge of other cultures. You can not even fathom where man would be or what we would know about the past if this were not true. The Catholic Church did this by ordering this knowledge to be labeled as blasphemous. It was actually against religious law to say that they solar system is heliocentric (solar centered). They were virtually the cause of the lack of advancements during the middle ages. It wasn’t until the exposure to Arab influence after the crusades that Europe began to reexamine the classical teachings of Greece and other ancient cultures, thus rediscovering the true shape and dimension of the solar system, mathematics, engineering, and art. Luckily our modern record keeping help us to keep this type of knowledge from being lost now, the artifacts in Iraq and Iran are the oldest of their kind in existence today and due to the shear number of pieces we have very limited knowledge of the functions and purposes of all of these pieces. American have very little concept of history or of lost knowledge, because we only have a cultural history of a few hundred years with very limited power changes. Imagine a region that has been ruled by 8 or so major cultures in the most volatile region of the world and is currently led by one of the most suppressive religious regimes in the world.

67. AJ says:

What an incredible discovery. It really is a lot like an ancient zoetrope. Thanks for sharing this!

68. Eric says:

Sorry for the grammer or spelling errors in my post.

69. If this goblet was originally turned on a potters wheel, that would be a very easy way to spin it and get the zoetrope effect.

And having the zoetrope effect discovered by someone using a potters wheel is fairly obvious. You stare at a spinning object long enough, the eye will recognize patterns.

I’m not certain how long the Lazy Susan has been around, but if the person who owned this cup had one, it would be an easy way to display the cup for home amusement.

70. Eric says:

Iran is a great country with thousands of years of history. It is actually one of the oldest still in existence. This bowl/goblet however is not from Iran. It is from a culture that predates Iran as a nation and possibly even Persia as an empire. This is an Indus image that relates closer to the cultures of Pakistan or India. The Persian people came from the mountainous region in Iran led by Cyrus and conquered the tribes that lived in the Indus River Valley. This type of pottery was around before Abraham was leaving Ur in Sumer and thus would have been in existence well before Islam and the Arab expansion from Yemen and more southern areas of the Middle East. The discovery of a simple animation on the side of pottery in this region considering the vast technological advances made by human of this region during this and previous time periods. Animation is a bit “Low-tech” to these cultures considering that they formed the wheel, built enormous building with great precision, mapped the stars and planets (thousands of years before the telescope and “European discoveries”) Formed written language and agriculture just to name a few. The technology possessed by the people of this time and location set the foundations for the Greeks and eventually the Arabs to run with. They had everything that the Greeks had, except the number 0, which the Arabs would later adopt from the Greeks. Later cultures were not so much inventing as they were rediscovering what has been forgotten. We still do this today. Most of the advances attributed to Greek culture can be correctly be traced to the Sumerians and earlier cultures. I do believe that this is a major find, however it is kind of remedial when compared to the real advances that these cultures posses. A goat drawn in progreesive movement cannot seem that great of a tech wonder when the great pyramid of Giza was built a couple generations after this pottery was fashioned.

71. [...] span, but the rapid-fire entertainment has its roots more than 4000 years ago. Here’s the oldest recorded animation, and it’s made by sequencing five images on a goblet that may date back to 2600 [...]

72. docgrubb says:

bob kincaid-
you ignored those Taliban, who dynamited or shelled those huge Buddist stone statues in Afghanistan to smithereens, because CLINTON delayed taking on the b*st**ds.

73. construvisa says:

que chever que sea tan antiguo ayuda a comprender lo grande que es la cultura dela humanidad

74. Randy says:

This is more of a statement on our own arrogance in thinking about ancient peoples missing the glaring concept they could think 4th dimensional. This has been around for 4000 years we assume when we find it the primitive brain just wasn’t that smart. ….or the pointy head brainiacs who go into this field maybe need a liberal arts education?
Now there is a concept!
WOW we as a culture have some major self image issues.

75. Very incredible this ancient animation is!

76. The goat appears to be eating coffee cherries. Look for Kaldi somewhere on the object, kind of like “where’s Waldo”, only it’s “where’s Kald?”

77. Sean says:

If you spun the bowl and blinked your eyes quickly I think you might get an animation efect rather than simply a blured patern of lines.

78. Bob Kincaid says:

What a brilliant re-examination of a seemingly statuc piece of artwork!

I can’t help wondering how many archaeological treasures the world will lose when George Bush orders the bombing of Iran. What a crying shame!

Scads of priceless artifacts were lost in Baghdad when U.S. troops rushed off to “conserve” the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, leaving the museums and a significant chunk of civilization’s patrimony open to the depredations of marauding troops and looters.

79. DarthTurducken says:

Photoshopped!

80. lanangdw says:

cool

81. sgitheach says:

he he! that’s weird. but cool!

82. [...] um artigo no blog Millard´s Filmore Bathtub e leia o artigo original na CAIS – The Circle Of Ancient Iranian Studies. [...]

83. Bhob says:

There is an older animation. I saw photos in a book published around 1975 but don’t recall the title. The photos showed an ancient carving on a rock, positioned and designed so shadows created an image with movement as the day progressed.

84. neorhazes says:

yup its cool bro…

i think the oldest animation is at altamira cave in spain…

but now…i think this one is elder..haha
wkwk

85. blueberrybubblebath says:

wow!!! that’s kewlness!!!it means they’ve thought about animation in a crude way 5,200 years back way way before we discovered it in our time!!! awesome!!!

86. [...] oldest cartoon character in the world is a goat leaping to get the leaves on a tree.read more | digg [...]

87. Thank you George and Sculptus Poe for noticing how “fakey” the resulting animation stands.
I tried to do a better version here : http://cela.etant.free.fr/stories/?page_id=62

88. [...] Visto en Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. [...]

89. Gilmot says:

My family really enjoyed your jellied pig ear recipe. Do you have any more?

90. murx says:

It took them FIVE YEARS to realize this?
Five (5) pictures on one and the same bowl?

That’s their science work? A 5 year old child would realize the connection and action on those images in less then a minute…

Who pays those iditos?… No matter how much they get, it’s too much

91. [...] clipped from timpanogos.wordpress.com [...]

Great! But is it have been remodificated?

93. avyaya says:

Thats an amazing this to know.

Thanks for sharing.

94. Daryoosh says:

You know that Iran is a country with an ancient history (3.600 years-civilization). 2 years ago in Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (http://www.tehranmoca.com/en/index.aspx) was a international festival about Burnt City and this bowl. What a pity that you were not :) Thanks for share it so bon. Ed, visit it: http://www.chnpress.com/ It’s CHTHO agency news for more news about Burnt City.

95. bull says:

bout time someone called out that hack of an artist-Winsor McKay.

96. Wow interesting!

97. thekarrotcakelover says:

THIS IS COOL!!!

98. ssdspi says:

Very nice

99. Pam says:

O’Maolchathaigh
Yes, I believe that people not familiar with sequential animation (pen and ink) will form a gestalt of the creature (in this case) and therefore it is entirely unnecessary to twirl the bowl to see the goat jumping.

Some examples would perhaps come from some of the Yup’ik artists (circa 1930s, my references are currently in storage) whose complex yet not complicated abstract drawings convey an entire day hunting. Sometimes these drawings are made with subtle but significant changes to convey this action. The lines in the sand children draw with story knives are another example– someone else can see the story unfold by looking at the drawing alone. Again, this is not a simplistic drawing.

A lot of petroglyphic activity conveys animation (that is embued with life; active), but not all. Some people are more skilled than others.

You make a key point in my favor-

an animation as we know it today.

Think of it like this– how do you “know” a flip book is supposed to be an animation of a single “thing”? Training yourself to see animation from a series of still special images imposed upon each other (vertical) is comparable, I would think, to training yourself to see animation from a set of still special images side by side (horizontal), no?

An optical illusion would be different.

100. Sol says:

So simple, yet unnoticed. Something to look for when seeing similar items in museums in the future (with new eyes).

101. Virgilio Failoc Rojas says:

$\textcolor{BrickRed}5200 Years Old, wow!{this is BrickRed}$

102. Habib Al-Hussein says:

This goat looks exactly like the Saturday morning cartoons I watched as a kid in Iran.

Thanks for sharing…

104. [...] Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub blog reports on a post by the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies blog about the recent discovery of [...]

105. Reminds me of some of the cartoons I used to do in my textbooks in elementary school. I think every textbook I owned had those page flipping animations in them, and some got really elaborate.

This goat jumping guy would have had a ball with textbooks.

Have an amazing day!

Micheal

106. rusty1108 says:

Thats so cool! I might be 10 years old but i know awsome! I want a 5,200 year old dog!

107. [...] Full story [...]

108. O'Maolchathaigh says:

Pam,
is that in our modern “eye”? Can we extrapolate back to pre-movies, pre-TV, pre-animation as we think of it, to expect that people without exposure to such things would have been inspired to see an animation in their mind, based soley on a few images? As an avid follower of all things animated, I don’t quite make that leap in my own mind from a few pictures. I can see someone remembering an animal or person move and the images would remind them of that, but movements are so quick, relatively, that I find it hard to believe that a few satatic images, of movemnts that would have only been seen as an aggregate, a blur, if you will, could possibly inspire pre-technology peoples to “see” an animation, unless it was put on a spinning or rotating object for that purpose. It seems to me that animation followed realtively quickly after photography developed to the point of capturing a still image from motion.

109. Andrew says:

I have to agree with my fellow skeptics. The individual movements of the goat look far too much the same to be done by even a skilled artist at the time. The fact the this was drawn on concave surface make me doubt it ever more.

110. lisaheidrich says:

very cool!
Thanks for sharing….
~Lisa
http://lisaheidrich.wordpress.com

111. Mulele says:

So what’s the difference between animation and a comic strip?

112. Ned says:

Fake.

113. raincoaster says:

Congratulations. Have you been BoingBoing.net ed yet? You should. Glad to see you finally getting the media attention this blog has deserved for so long.

Conglatulation! both of your blog, and this post are high ranked in
“The top blogs of the day” report

115. Hassan Abbas says:

wow!!! isnt it amazing

Oldest Animation Is 5,200 Years Old

According to this news source, this is a 5,200 year old animation.
The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) announced on Monday that it has recently completed the production of a documentary about the …

117. Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

118. mauigem says:

Cool!

119. Engr. Dr. says:

Labeeda, uuuhhhm. Iranians are not Arabs. They are Persians.
Btw, I don’t think that all stuff attributed to be of Arab origin are actually of Arab origin. They may just have integrated the knowledge from the older cultures and races from before the time when Islam became dominant. Integrators = yes. Discoverers = maybe or no.

120. El Santo says:

Very cool! I suppose the urge to translate motion into something of record has been with us since the beginning of time. I wonder if they’ll dig up other attempts to capture motion?

121. [...] Una caricatura de 5,200 años This entry was written by testigo and posted on March 11, 2008 at 4:41 pm and filed under url. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Sinister monkey [...]

122. [...] Film showing images from a 5,200-year old bowl from an ancient burial site in Iran. [...]

123. clubpenguin1994 says:

go to http://www.buckeyebadboys.com it is so awesome

124. [...] March 11, 2008 by triazolium First, this. [...]

Arabs are so smart :) Everything originated in the middle East

126. em says:

Please keep in mind that there are many things that were extremely sophisticated in many parts of the Middle East, Indian sub-continent and China in the years well before the Christian Era.

Another “invention” that comes to mind is the electric battery. Even though the tool looked different (in a clay container), it was the same object, with the same purpose, and their metallurgy has many aspects that were far more sophisticated than today. Even in this past 2 milleniums, there were South American tribes who made silver alloys which are not able to be reproduced today.

These are all sophisticated Cro-Magnon peoples, with basically NO biological difference between them and us. Don’t equate “ancient” with Neanderthal.

The Cro-Magnons made some of the most beautiful artwork we have, and spinning, with the eye of an artist, would have been an easy “leap” to make the intermediate steps.

Thanks for sharing.

Em
http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
“Everyone knows someone who needs this information!”TM

127. Pam says:

Keep in mind some “animations” don’t need to be literal– that is, we currently think of a series of images that must be overlapped to be animated. But in other places, a series of static images will trigger the animation in one’s mind’s eye. ;)

from bOING-bOING, comes a link to another ancient animation, Gods of war

128. [...] Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization site. Acknowledgment also to the commendable Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, where I found the [...]

129. alexushilton says:

Here’s one that an artist sent me..

AH

130. [...] Tiene 5200 aos de antiguedad… A pesar de que al jarron lo descubrieron en los 70′s, hace poco que notaron que las imagenes creaban una animacin. El gif no tiene Loop, asi que para verlo de nuevo hay que actualizar… World’s oldest animation, 5,200 years old Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub [...]

131. Shideh says:

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing this.
I got an email yesterday about the great wall of Iran that was recently discovered, which you may find interesting (and in line with the content of your blog):

132. esfahan08 says:

This is a drop from the ocean about Iran. This country is about culture and civilisation (something the world is not well aware of due to speculations against this country.

133. [...] Considering my appreciation for comics, cartoons and all things animated, of course I would be drawn to a blog about the world’s oldest animation. [...]

134. uniqueminds says:

how come the back ground doesn’t change a little? It shouldn’t be perfect

135. mlabossi says:

True-the animation video is clearly not a film of an actual spinning goblet. Try spinning a cup with images on it (like a fast food cup) and see what that would look like. Also, as others have indicated, the background images are identical frame by frame. That would not be possible with a hand made goblet.

Even if the goblet showed a progression of events, it would not be clear that it was intended as an animation. Of course, the technology needed to create animation is rather basic (think of a flip book) so people could have been making them for quite some time.

In any case, it is always interesting to see claims about the first whatever.

136. jebn says:

this is one of the best ways to learn about art, art history, world history. Thank you for sharing!

137. [...] oldest animation ever!! [...]

138. paulmct says:

Now if I was a contemporary bowl/pottery maker…

Should we expect to see a revival of animated stories on ceramics? Retro seems to work with just about everything else.

Combine it with the modern Lazy Susan and you can keep kids (or yourself) entertained at meal times. ;-)

Very interesting post.

139. O'Maolchathaigh says:

The drawings were obviously meant to illustrate an action. One could have spun the goblet to achieve a simple form of “animation”, but it is pure conjecture to say that someone did so then. Well, of course, Mr. Cartmell, the pond fronds were duplicated from one frame, to create a visual animation of the animal, the main object of movement. The fronds are not important except as background. I doubt any kind of exact duplication was possible at the time. It doesn’t detract from the use of the images to create what we recognize as an animation. That being said, I think it is stretching it to say this was the world’s first animation, because we don’t have context. If the images were drawn on something like a potter’s wheel that we know spins, it might have been a safe guess that it was an animation as we know it today. Otherwise, it is a very short series of stills depicted on a cup, nothing more. Since the drawings were painted on after the cup was made, it is unlikely the artist saw the sequence move as we do now.

140. harayz says:

wow.. amazing, but not surprising. imagine times before tv, radio, tabloid magazines, etc. im sure they had something to entertain them and this would probably one of the first discovery of how the ancient people uses some form of media, but i would not be too surprise if we discover more about it.

141. Dave says:

There needs to be an anticipate pose before the goat begins it’s leap.

142. [...] at 1:39 pm (Uncategorized) Tags: cartoons, fun, history, life, prehistory, religion I was reading this blog post today about the rediscovery of an ancient Iranian goblet as one of the earliest (perhaps the [...]

143. veerubhai says:

Interesting. Would appreciate if you’d like to check out genuine stuff in my blog:
http://www.veersworld.wordpress.com

Good article about the animation. I still doubt as to, animation 5,200 years old? Makes up a curious post though, congrats!

Veerender

144. George says:

Actually, it appears that many of the frames have been duplicated. The goat in frames 2 & 4 are identical as are 4-6-8, 3-7, and 1-9.

Still a pretty cool piece of art but the “animation” is a bit of an exaggeration.

145. Ed Darrell says:

So, Jeff: Got a bead on that 11-minute film? Access to the archaeological journals? Search away, let us know if you find a cleaner version.

146. Jeff says:

Matt Cartmill’s got it right.

I’d like to see a less manipulated version of this.

The first and last frames of the goat look superficially identical as well. Obviously it’s been enhanced to be visually ‘clean’ … but how much have the enhanced the ‘animate-ability’ of the original decoration for sensational effect?

147. [...] reading an article which caught my eye. It was one of the most recent blogs which talked about a 5,200 year old cartoon. The title caught my eye. This blog is about an ancient artifact found in Iran in the 1970’s. [...]

148. sedgehammer says:

As usual, fun AND interesting stuff. Way to go Iranians! I am adding you to my blogroll.

149. dushyantraj says:

wow! after looking this, I doubt modern man’s saying that he is more advanced than he had ever been.

150. [...] This animation has been making its rounds. [...]

151. La animación más vieja del mundo

Tiene 5200 años de antiguedad y, a pesar de haber sido descubierto en los 70′s; no fue sino hasta hace poco que notaron que las imagenes creaban una animación.

152. John Norris says:

Looks like the images are on the outside of the goblet. I wonder if the markings on the inside of the goblet are directly across from the middle of the image. That might indicate some sort of siting mark…similar to the notch in a zoetrope. Still it would be “inside-out”.

http://tinyurl.com/2dbhby

153. riccardo campari says:

really Matt are you joking?
you can’t possibly think anyone would believe in the existence of animations in 3k bc..
I guess that the zoetrope possibility is closer to the truth, and a cool thing to think for the now-ashes men of the time. anyone interested in large scale production? O_o

154. Sculptus Poe says:

http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Pre_History/Burnt_City/Burnt_City_Boz_details.jpg

Here is the original image. Definitely not exactly the animation depicted, though it is a progressive series of pictures.

It stands, jumps only once and then bites the top of the tree.

http://www.cais-soas.com/News/2008/March2008/04-03.htm

155. John Norris says:

hmmm…if the images were on the inside of the goblet, it could be used as part of a simple zoetrope. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoetrope)

156. Matt Cartmill says:

This film has been faked, at least to some degree. The frame for each of the nine goat images is absolutely static — that is, there are nine microscopically identical images of the palm fronds, which is impossible do achieve with a paintbrush. So if this pot exists, the film was made by photographing the nine “frames,” deleting the goat in one of them, and then photoshopping the nine goat images into the empty frame. The animation effect may have been produced, or enhanced, by the positioning of the photoshopped images. We can’t tell from the film.

157. tan crayon says:

Wow, that’s awesome

158. I don’t know what to say. I thought it’d be funny.

Kind of like this: http://www.comember.net/blogs/firepixel/

The Obama one that is…

159. Stupid Goat says:

It could have just eaten from the lower limbs.

160. Ed Darrell says:

Wonderful question — I’ve been searching for a copy of the 11-minute film, to see if there’s an explanation. No luck on my part.

I also loved the commentary on an alt.net board that linked to this post.

“They had .gif 5,000 years ago? Who knew?” “Yeah, but did they pronounce it with a hard g or a soft g?”

161. L. H. Ilsay says:

I’m sorry, but if there are five images on the bowl why are there eight steps in the above animation?

162. Ed Darrell says:

Burnt City didn’t stick around long enough to develop anticipation, or squash, or stretch.

Hey, these animators were working with ceramics, drawing the pictures and firing them. Think of the medium! Let’s see you cartoon in ceramics, L. animator.

163. Lame animator says:

There’s no anticipation or squash and stretch. Take acting classes.

164. AldoManutio Abruzzo says:

What’s really sad is that it took them this long to notice … so much for academia.

165. Eva says:

Very fun.

166. Mo says:

Proud to be an Iranian.

167. A.Ho says:

Wow, that’s cool. Thanks for the share.

168. eyeingtenure says:

To Whom it May Concern: As of 7:30 a.m. PST tomorrow, tag.

169. Dorid says:

That’ amazing. I suspect a lot of people will be spinning these ancient bowls now ;) I agree, this isdeeply cool!