Along the lush mountains of South Sulawesi in Indonesia, a cave at ‘Leang Tedongnge’ has been found to contain some of the earliest paintings ever discovered since human existence. The painting exhibits a life-sized image of a wild pig and dates back to at least 45,500 years ago. What can be found inside the caves is the perfect illustration of how human creativity first emerged in ancient times. Along with the paintings, there are handprints of ancestors dating back to tens of thousands of years.
The cave paintings in Indonesia are suggested to be one of the earliest known paintings of animals, in this case, a wild boar. The painting is 136cm wide and 54cm high, and it also shows some characteristics of the animal, such as the upright hairs, horns, and some facial warts. Although the pig is clearly preserved, two more warty pigs can be made out in the painting that is partially preserved. Also, a pair of handprints can be seen clearly behind the pig.
Earliest Cave Paintings now in Indonesia, not Spain
These handprints are similar to those found in northwest Spain, which was thought to be the earliest cave paintings, and led some to believe that human art began in Europe. But the discovery of these paintings in Indonesia, as published in the Journal Science Advances, suggests that it is the oldest known surviving cave art. Scientists will now have to rethink when and, more specifically, where human art first emerged.
The warty pig painting has been found in the limestone cave, surrounded by various limestone cliffs, and the archaeologists had access to a narrow passage to travel through the caves in the dry seasons. Otherwise, the wet season floods the valley floor with water. Mr. Aubert, the dating specialist, said that the painting’s age was determined through Uranium-series isotope dating, which was done upon the calcite deposit found on the top of the painting. He also suggested that the painting can be far older, given the dating system estimated the age depending only upon the top of the calcite layer.
Cave Paintings made during Early Human Settlement
Sulawesi, located in Wallacea, constitutes oceanic islands and is a distinct zone situated between continental Asia and Australia. The research in Journal Advance scientists also claims that the people made Sulawesi in Wallacea their first stop before traveling through the ocean towards Australia in the early human settlement. The experts know that modern humans were on that landmass about 65,000 years ago. The scientists have also said to “Stand by for more discoveries.”
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