39,000 Year Old Cave Art from Sulawesi, Indonesia

Anthropology.net

Photo by Kinez Riza Photo by Kinez Riza

This hand stencil was discovered in one of the caves of the Maros region of the island, Sulawesi in the 1950s. A paper published in Nature now describes the dating of the sediment on top of the stencil, which makes it more than 39,000 years old and now the oldest painting in the world. Adjacent to this stencil a painting of a babirusa or pig-deer which is 35,400 years old, which makes it among the earliest figurative depictions.

The oldest dated hand stencil in the world (upper right) and possibly the oldest figurative depiction in cave art—a female babirusa (a hoglike animal also called a pig-deer)—were found in Leang Timpuseng cave in Sulawesi, an island east of Borneo. NGM ART. SOURCE: M. AUBERT, ET AL., 2014, NATURE. The oldest dated hand stencil in the world (upper right) and possibly the oldest figurative depiction in cave art—a female babirusa (a hoglike animal also called a pig-deer)—were found in Leang Timpuseng cave in Sulawesi, an island east of Borneo.
NGM ART. SOURCE: M. AUBERT, ET AL., 2014, NATURE.

The researchers of this study investigated the 10mm mineral layer covering the images. These minerals had trace amounts of…

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