45,500 years. The oldest cave painting that has ever been found in the world dates from that date. A painting found in Indonesia, on the roof of a cave on an island in Sulawesi. A place far from civilization, where no career reaches and that Basran Burhan, a doctoral student at Griffith University (Australia), found last year 2017, thanks to the help of the native population of the area. There, he discovered a painting of a ‘warty boar’, inside the limestone cave known as ‘Leang Tedongnge’.
Since its discovery, the investigation has lasted three years, investing hours and hours of studies to determine its origin. A group of archaeologists from the same university assures already in their research, already published in the magazine Science, what This ‘warty pig’ is made with dark red ocher pigment and is the oldest cave painting in the world, with 45,500 years of history inside a curve in Indonesia.
This discovery It is 136 centimeters long and 110 high. After their studies, experts have determined that the painting represents at least three warty pigs from Sulawesi. “But at Leang Tedongnge we were lucky enough to identify a small deposit of calcite – known as cave popcorn. that had formed on top of one of the pig figures. We take samples of the calcite and analyze it for the dating of uranium series ”, reflects the study published in the scientific journal.
Basran Burhan, Adam Brumm, Adhi Oktaviana and Maxime Aubert, authors of the study of cave painting, explain to The Conversation, how was the process to know the age of this ‘warty boar’: “In 2014, the earliest dates for South Sulawesi rock art were reported. Based on the analysis of the uranium series from mineral deposits (calcite) that formed naturally in art, we show that a stamped image of a human hand found in a cave was created at least 40,000 years ago. This is compatible in age with the famous rock art from the ice age in Europe ”.
“Then, In 2019, we dated a spectacular painting in another cave depicting hybrid human-animal figures hunting warty Sulawesi pigs and dwarf buffalo. This hunting scene is at least 43,900 years old and features what may be the oldest depictions of supernatural beings. In our last study, we take the era of Sulawesi rock art a little further back. ” continue to explain, with particular emphasis on the area where the painting was reported, in Sulawi, the largest island in Wallacea, between Asia and Australia.
“Modern humans are said to have crossed Wallacea by boat at least 65,000 years ago to reach Australia at that time. But the Wallacean Islands are poorly explored, and currently the earliest excavated archaeological evidence for this region is much more recent. We believe that further investigation you will discover much older rock art in Sulawesi or other Wallacean Islands, dating back at least 65,000 years and possibly earlier ”, the experts decide on the study.
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