44,000 year old cave paintings

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. 


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By Gary Kirkpatrick

Artist and travel blogger.

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