Oldest cave art in Asia discovered

The cave paintings in Spain (El Castillo cave) and France (Chaveut cave) are famed as being the oldest evidence of early human art to date, but now new discoveries in Indonesia are dated to around the same time.

The paintings depict hand stencils as well as a pig-deer type of creature (no, not man bear pig), drawn with a mulberry red colour. The art has been dating to between 35,000 to 40,000 years old, which is around the same date as the European art.


The research time configured the date by looking at the decay on uranium on the paintings.

The cave was found almost 50 years on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, but have only recently been dated to provide this amazing age. The oldest hand stencil is said to be 39,900 years old, which could make the oldest hand stencil ever.


What this information means is that the early modern humans left Africa with this creative urge to paint the walls, as seen in Europe and Asia. What’s interesting is how prevalent the common “hand stencil” painting is, it almost seems like that was the graffiti “tag” of the prehistoric world.

The research was announced in the journal Nature


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