Scientists are constantly searching for clues to make sense of our past, because we need to shed a bright light on the past in order for a better understanding of our present and our future. The latest archaeological discovery comes from an Indonesian island called Sulawesi where researchers discovered hand paintings and animal paintings in seven limestone caves. Scientists believe the 39,000-year-old cave paintings are among the oldest European cave art discovered so far. The cave paintings discovered in El Castillo, Spain on a red disk are 40,800 year old, making them the oldest art in the world.
Scientists say that the 39,000-year-old cave paintings are spectacular and quite unexpected. There have been previous discoveries in the Sulawesi region in the 1950s but back then it was believed that the art is not older than 10,000 years.
Paleoanthropologist Eric Delson says that the 39,000-year-old cave paintings confirm some theories about the evolution of the human species, saying that the new findings show that modern humans moved to Australasia and South Asia. The cave paintings are just proof that the humans were there and left their mark.
In order to estimate how old the recently discovered cave paintings are the archaeologists from Indonesia and Australia used a technique based on uranium decay. This technique helped them date the calcite encrusted on the wall paintings. They discovered that the drawings beneath it were older than the crust covering them.
Te researchers said that the paintings are at least 39,000 years old, and could be the oldest depictions of stenciled human hands ever discovered. The stenciled outlines of hands was a common practice of “cave artists”. Adam Brumm and Maxime Aubert examined the 39,000-year-old cave paintings which consist of twelve images of human hands and two images of animals. One of the oldest depiction of an animal in cave art is 35,400 years old and it was of a species called “babirusa”, a combination of a pig and a deer.
The archeologists who discovered the 39,000-year-old cave paintings said:
“We can expect future discoveries of depictions of human hands, figurative art and other forms of image-making dating to the earliest period of the global dispersal of our species.”
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