What was discovered about cave paintings will shock you and change the history books

Hand stencil in a cave in Indonesia, dated to at least 39,900 years old (photograph by Kinza Riza, via Nature.com)

Stencil of a hand from cave in Indonesia, possibly older than 39,900 years old (photo by Kinza Riza, via Nature.com)

New evidence was published last week in the journal Nature that proves Europe is no longer the birthplace of art. A team of archeologists from Australia and Indonesia headed by Maxime Aubert and Adam Brumm of Griffith University investigated a series of cave paintings in Maros on the southern part of the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. These scientists analyzed the 12 stencils of human hands and two paintings of animals at seven different sites in the caves. The cave paintings had stalactite-like mineral growths that aided in the current dating of these paintings. The new  dating of rock art found in Indonesia dates to the same time as cave paintings at the Cave of El Castillo in Cantabria, Northern Spain. This proves that similar art was being made in the Pacific region of the world at the same time as the oldest European cave art and changes the present ideas about humans first developed the ability to produce art. Previously, these painting were assumed to be no more than 10,000 years old but newly developed techniques of examining mineral deposits created the circumstances to correctly date these works of art.

There are also cave paintings that date as early as 27,000 years ago making this a location that was used for approximately 13,000 years. Additionally, other cave paintings located about 1ookm away in the regency of Bone cannot be dated because they lack the mineral deposits but may possibly be just as old as the Maros cave paintings because of stylistic similarities.

The "pig-deer" and the adjacent hand outline (screenshot by the author via YouTube/Nature.com)

The “pig-deer” and the “signature” of the artist (screenshot by the author via YouTube/Nature.com and Hyperallergic.com

The “pig-deer” painting show above, also called a babirusa, is a bit younger than some of the other cave paintings with a date of approximately 35,400 years old, concurrent with Chauvet Caves. This animal painting is one of the oldest figural cave paintings in the world, possibly the oldest.

Maxime Aubert looking at cave art (from BBC News)

Maxime Aubert looking at cave art (from BBC News)

Archeologists believe these hand prints are approximately 40,0000 years old and the artists made them by blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly to the cave walls and ceilings. Some of the hands in these caves in Indonesia are possibly the oldest hand paintings in the world.


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