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Narrative Cave Art in Indonesia Dated to 44,000 Years Ago

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Indonesia Cave ArtQUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA—According to a Cosmos Magazine report, cave art discovered in Indonesia’s region of Sulawesi has been dated to at least 44,000 years old by a team of researchers led by Maxime Aubert of Griffith University, who measured the amount of uranium and thorium in the calcium carbonate deposited over the painting. Aubert said the imaginative images, which depict the pursuit of wild pigs and dwarf buffaloes by humans with animal tails or bird heads, were painted about 65 feet above ground level. “We have a narrative scene—the first evidence of storytelling,” he explained. In comparison, Aubert said hunting scenes in France’s Lascaux Cave have been dated to about 17,000 years ago. The researchers also think the possible hunting scene includes ropes tied around the neck of a pig, hinting at an early attempt at animal domestication. For more on cave art in Sulawesi, go to "The First Artists," one of ARCHAEOLOGY's Top 10 Discoveries of 2015.   

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