World's oldest artwork exposed in Indonesian cave: study

World's oldest artwork exposed in Indonesian cave: study

JAKARTA (AFP) - An Indonesian cave painting depicting a prehistoric hunting scene may be the world's oldest figurative artwork, dating back about 44,000 years, a discovery that points to an advanced artistic culture, new research. accordingly.

Spotted two years ago on Sulawesi Island, the 4.5-meter (13-foot) wide painting featured wild animals being chased by half-baked hunters who showed spears and ropes, on Wednesday. ' The study, published in the journal Nature, said.

Using the dating technique, the team at Griffith University in Australia said that it confirmed that the painting of the limestone cave was at least 43,900 years old during the Upper Palaeolithic period.

"This hunting scene is - to our knowledge - currently the oldest illustrated record of storytelling and the earliest rhetorical artwork in the world," the researchers said.

The discovery comes after a painting of an animal in a cave in the Indonesian island of Borneo, which was at least 40,000 years old, while in 2014, researchers date figurative art on Sulawesi 35,000 years ago.

"I have never seen anything like this before," archaeologist Adam Bram of Griffith University told Nature.

"I mean we've seen hundreds of rock art sites in the area, but we haven't seen anything resembling a hunting scene," he said.

'Mythological or supernatural'

For many years, cave art was thought to have emerged from Europe, but Indonesian paintings have challenged that thinking.

The team said that there are at least 242 caves or shelters with ancient imagery on Sulawesi alone, and new sites are being discovered.

In the latest dated scene, the animals appear to be wild boars and small buffalo, while predators are depicted in red-brown color with human bodies and heads of animals including birds and reptiles.

Researchers said human-animal figures, known as mythology, suggested that early humans in the region were able to imagine things that did not exist in the world.

"We don't know what that means, but it seems to be about hunting and seems to have mythological or supernatural meanings," Brumm said.

The figure of a half-lion, half-human ivory was found in Germany which was around 40,000 years old, it was considered the oldest example of medicine, the article stated.

Evolutionary history

The Sulawesi painting, which is in poor condition, suggests that a highly advanced artistic culture existed around 44,000 years ago, due to folklore, religious myths, and spiritual belief.

"(The view) can be considered not only as the earliest dated figurative art in the world, but also the oldest evidence for the communication of a narrative in the Palaeolithic art," the researchers said.

"This is remarkable, given that the ability to invent fictional stories may be the last and most important stage in the history of the development of human language and the development of modern-like patterns of cognition."

However, some scientists doubted whether the latest discovery was actually a scene or possibly a series of images taken over thousands of years.

Human dependence with animals was not common in other parts of the world until about 10,000 years ago.

"Is this a visual suspect," said Paul Petit, an archaeologist and rock-art expert at Durham University in Britain.

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