Earliest storytelling art dated at 44,000 years old

Mysteries
cave drawings Indonesia

Part of an ancient hunting scene includes a miniature buffalo, right, facing five figures wielding spears or ropes. (Maxime Aubert/Nature)

MYSTERY WIRE — Cave drawings dated to nearly 44,000 years old have been discovered in Indonesia. The find is described as the oldest depiction of a hunting scene.

Australian archaeologists Maxime Aubert and Adam Brumm led a team that reported the discovery, published Dec. 11 in the journal Nature.

An article on sciencenews.org quotes Brumm: “We assume these ancient artists were Homo sapiens and that spirituality and religious thinking were part of early human culture in Indonesia.”

The drawings depict “part-human, part-animal hunters” that suggest a belief in supernatural beings, the article says.

The artwork escaped attention this long because it is in a raised alcove about 60 feet above ground level, Aubert told The Washington Post. The area is in a populous area near the city of Makassar. The land belongs to a mining company.

Cave drawings Indonesia
A panorama of drawings found at Sulawesi cave in Indonesia show a hunting scene. (Adam Brumm/Ratno Sardi/Adhi Agus Oktaviana)

Scientists could not use carbon dating techniques because the drawings were made using a red pigment. Well-known drawings in French caves were made in charcoal. But scientists are confident these drawings are twice as old as any previously known storytelling.

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