December 18, 2019
The oldest form of communication that reaches us from ancient man comes from artists. The oldest drawing, found on a rock in South Africa last year, is some 73,000 years old. In Germany there is a 40,000-year-old sculpture of a human with lion’s head. In France, a 14,000- to 21,000-year old mural depicts a figure fighting a bison, with the faces sporting a beak.
A new discovery extends narrative cave painting back 44,000 years. In caves on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, archaeologists discovered a painting of a hunt or ritual. There are two wild pigs and four dwarf buffaloes chased by mythical human-animal figures hunting with rope- and spear-like weapons. They are not just individual pieces as in older discoveries but tell a story. If the age of the paintings is confirmed independently, these become the oldest known narrative cave paintings.