Icons or rather pictograms accompany us from the second half of the IVth millennium BC (as defined by the researchers). Pictograms were the first known writing system which allowed communication.
Designing Icons
Order Group

What are your thoughts about extending the history of pictograms back to cave paintings? I understand that the word “pictogram” as you are using it here has a very definite meaning and I am being more lose with that meaning, but cave paintings, as best archaeologists can tell, share a lot in common with icons and pictograms. They were not meant to be realistic depictions of animals but more symbolic/spiritual representations to either communicate between tribe members or to exert some supernatural control over animals (to have a good hunt).

I know, this is purely speculative since experts don’t know for sure what the creators of cave paintings intended. I’m curious what your thoughts are because I have always considered cave paintings to be the first icon-like art of humans. It seems that some attempts at early written language have been around as long as humans cooperating and using tools.