Oldest figurative artwork found in a cave that's full of surprises

Oldest known animal drawing found in remote Indonesian cave

They removed samples smaller than one centimetre (half an inch) across from the artworks and found one painting of an animal had been produced at least 40,000 years ago, and possibly almost 52,000 years ago. The researchers note a big change in the local rock art dated back around 20,000 years ago.

Even if they are not the absolute record holders in terms of age, the images show that people across the world from one another were doing similar artwork in caves at the same time.

This large cave wall in Borneo features several paintings of wild cattle; the indistinct image at top center has been dated to at least 40,000 years old. The revelation that a Palaeolithic rock art tradition was established in Indonesia at least 40,000 years ago challenges the long-held belief that Europe was the cradle of early artistic creativity. Researchers have known about these human-made drawings since 1994, but they didn't know when the illustrations were created until now, said Aubert, who worked with Indonesia's National Research Centre for Archaeology (ARKENAS) and the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

In the 1990s, Indonesian and French archaeologists trekked into the remote interior mountains of East Kalimantan, an Indonesian province of Borneo. It was dated approximately 35,400 years old.

The study was published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature.

The study also showcases another interesting parallel: previously, early cave paintings were predominantly found in Europe (particularly in today's Spain), and they show quite a bit of resemblance to the ones found in Borneo.

The world's oldest painting of an animal has been discovered in Borneo, dating back to 12,000 years before the earliest known examples in Europe.

The hand stencils are made in a similar pigment, and were determined to be at least 37,000 years old. Through dating, a study has found that the cave paintings are approximate 40,000 years old.

Alternatively, Indonesia and Europe may have been separate areas of innovation where ice age rock art emerged independently - if so, it is possible the very earliest cave paintings may one day be found in Southeast Asia rather than Europe. It is the oldest known work of figurative cave art - art that depicts an image from real life.

Maxime Aubert said: "It looks like there was a transition from depicting the animal world to [depicting] the human world". Uranium-series analysis of calcium carbonate deposits that overlie the painting have been conducted to track its date.

"Many of these stencils are partly in-filled with painted lines, dashes, dots and small abstract signs that possibly represent tattoos or other marks of social identification, and in some instances hand stencils are linked together by painted mulberry lines that form intricate tree-like motifs, which perhaps symbolize kinship connections", they wrote. In addition to the animal, in East Kalimantan, there are also representations of human hands. "But the fact that many of them are in places that are hard to access, where people don't normally live, suggests a "ritual" element in their creation", he added.

"Most of what we know about how we lived in the Pleistocene is based on archeology and that's usually people's rubbish - what they left behind", Aubert said.

"Who those artists were is unclear, but the most likely scenario is that they were Homo sapiens, ancient humans", says Brumm.

Around 14,000 years ago, the cave-dwellers began to regularly sketch human figures doing things like dancing and hunting, often wearing large headdresses. "It's an intimate window into the past". Rock art was made for a goal and we can see how people lived a long time ago in a way that archaeology can't provide.

Related News:

Most liked

California wildfires destroy thousands of structures and force emergency evacuations
A second round of Santa Ana winds is forecast to whip the area Sunday through Tuesday, though it may be weaker than Friday's. It was burning in the same area impacted by the 2013 Springs Fire where there was "sparse fuel", fire officials said Friday.

Donald Trump endorses Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House
Pelosi suggested that the new majority's emphasis will be more about traditional checks and balances than investigative excess. It also could give him an excuse for the legislative inertia that seems certain to set in over the next two years.

Kim Kardashian forced to evacuate her home as wildfire sweeps through neighbourhood
Kim also thanked the firefighters for their hard work, before recording the firetrucks and police cars driving down her neighborhood's streets.

Best Buy releases its Black Friday deals on high-tech gadgets
But when will this year's Black Friday take place in the United Kingdom , and which retailers will be putting on special deals. Black Friday deals will go live on Walmart.com at 10 p.m.

Windows 10 Pro activation error downgrades users to Home
Some Windows 10 users got a nasty surprise yesterday when Microsoft informed them their copy of Windows wasn't licensed anymore. Microsoft is aware of this situation and has released a statement explaining the issue.

Police at Murugadoss Home to Arrest!
The counsel also informed the judge that the objectionable portions had already been removed from the film. Sarkar director AR Murugadoss on Friday morning moved the Madras High Court seeking an anticipatory bail.

Mushroom hosts cyanobacteria to generate electricity
But among bioengineers, cyanobacteria have a much better reputation, as they're known for its ability to generate electricity . A robotic arm-based 3D printer was used to first print an "electronic ink", which contained graphene nanoribbons.

'Would Never Forgive Trump,' Says Michelle Obama
But she was more than impressed after meeting him, by his "rich, even sexy baritone" and by his "strange, stirring combination" of serenity and power.

BTS's Japanese TV appearance cancelled after Jimin wears 'atomic bomb' shirt
Despite diplomatic tensions, K-Pop and Korean actors are extremely popular in neighboring Japan. Japan became the first nation to suffer an atomic bombing on 9 August 1945, at Hiroshima .

Xiaomi officially enters the United Kingdom with the Mi 8 Pro
You'll also need to be registered as a member at Mi.com/UK to be eligible for the heavily discounted items. On the rear of the device is a dual camera with two 12MP lenses working in tandem.

McConnell talks bi-partisanship, women candidates after Senate wins
It's the most critical swing state in the country. "It's not like we're going to go drunk-crazy with subpoenas". Kim Reynolds was elected to a full term, while the Wisconsin GOP held onto the state legislature even as Gov.

Bound flight crash lands at airport in Guyana
Fly Jamaica made a crash landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana this morning. That included 82 Canadians, one American, 35 Guyanese, one Pakistani and one Trinidadian.

Imelda Marcos to appeal graft conviction
The former First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos has been found guilty of corruption and is facing up to a decade in jail. Marcos, who is now a member of the House of Representatives, is running for a governor post in next year's general election.

Seven teams interested in trading for Terry Rozier
Irving, like Smart, was frustrated by the first half, when Tatum, Brown, Horford and Gordon Hayward shot a combined 0-for-15. That team was the same Celtics squad that routinely overcame double-digit deficits during last year's 55-win campaign.

Brazilian GP: Lewis Hamilton wants win to wrap up title for Mercedes
You all know what my goal will be for this weekend, so it's going to be up to me and I need to perform at my best level to fight for the win".