Baku, January 15, AZERTAC
Archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest known cave painting: a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was made at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia, AFP reports.
The finding, described in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday, provides the earliest evidence of human settlement of the region.
Co-author Maxime Aubert, of Australia’s Griffith University, told AFP it was found on the island of Sulawesi in 2017 by doctoral student Basran Burhan, as part of surveys the team was carrying out with Indonesian authorities.
The Leang Tedongnge cave is located in a remote valley enclosed by sheer limestone cliffs, about an hour’s walk from the nearest road.
It is only accessible during the dry season because of flooding during the wet season – and members of the isolated Bugis community told the team it had never before been seen by westerners.
Measuring 136cm by 54cm (53in by 21in), the Sulawesi warty pig was painted using dark red ochre pigment and has a short crest of upright hair, as well as a pair of horn-like facial warts characteristic of adult males of the species.
There are two hand prints above the pig’s hindquarters, and it appears to be facing two other pigs that are only partially preserved, as part of a narrative scene.
The previously oldest dated rock art painting was found by the same team in Sulawesi. It depicted a group of part-human, part-animal figures hunting mammals, and was found to be at least 43,900 years old.
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