Early Animation

An Italian team of archaeologists unearthed a goblet in the 1970s from a burial site in Iran’s Burnt City, but it was only more recently that researchers noticed the images on the goblet tell an animated visual story. The burial site was dated as being 5200 years old, making this one of the earliest examples of animation.

The artifact bears five images depicting a wild goat jumping up to eat the leaves off a tree, which the members of the team at that time had not recognised the relationship between. Several years later, Iranian archaeologist Dr Mansur Sadjadi, discovered that the pictures formed a related series.  The goblet 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. If the goblet was spinning fast enough it would have a similar effect to a zoetrope.

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