Oldest Sulawesi rock art

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Indonesia harbors some of the oldest known surviving cave art. Previously, the earliest dated rock art from this region was a figurative painting of a Sulawesi warty pig (Sus celebensis). This image from Leang Bulu’ Sipong 4 in the limestone karsts of Maros-Pangkep, South Sulawesi, was created at least 43,900 years ago (43.9 ka) based on Uranium-series dating. Here, we report the Uranium-series dating of two figurative cave paintings of Sulawesi
warty pigs recently discovered in the same karst area. The oldest, with a minimum age of 45.5 ka, is from Leang Tedongnge. The second image, from Leang Balangajia 1, dates to at least 32 ka. To our knowledge, the animal painting from Leang Tedongnge is the earliest known representational work of art in the world. There is no reason to suppose, however, that this early rock art is a unique example in Island Southeast Asia or the wider region.

Period14 Jan 2021

Media contributions

3

Media contributions

  • TitleThe World’s Oldest Animal Paintings Are on This Cave Wall
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletScientific American
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited States
    Date14/01/21
    DescriptionIn the Western imagination, ancient cave paintings tend to conjure images of Lascaux, the cave complex in southwestern France that is famous for its exceptionally detailed depictions of humans and animals. The Lascaux paintings, however, are a mere 17,000 years old. The oldest known examples of figurative art, or imagery that shows more than just abstractions, occur in Southeast Asia. Now a painting of pigs discovered in a cave in Indonesia sets a new record for the earliest figurative art—at least 45,500 years old—according to research published on Wednesday in Science Advances.
    Producer/AuthorRachael Nuwer
    URLhttps://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-worlds-oldest-animal-paintings-are-on-this-cave-wall/
    PersonsKira Westaway
  • Title45,500-year-old rock painting of pigs in Indonesia is the oldest-known art depicting real, recognisable objects
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletABC Science
    Media typePrint
    CountryAustralia
    Date14/01/21
    DescriptionMore than 45,500 years ago, perched on a ledge at the back of an Indonesian cave, an artist was at work. By flickering firelight, they carefully daubed three Sulawesi warty pigs — one more than a metre long — on the limestone wall using dark red pigment, complete with distinctive facial nubs and crest of stiff hair. Today, these and other preserved paintings have been brought to light in the journal Science Advances.
    Producer/AuthorBelinda Smith
    URLhttps://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2021-01-14/indonesia-sulawesi-homo-sapiens-caves-rock-art-warty-pig-humans/13050766
    PersonsKira Westaway
  • TitleCave Painting of Pigs Might Be the Oldest Known Artwork of Animals
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletGizmodo
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date14/01/21
    DescriptionA pig painting inside an Indonesian cave has been dated to 43,900 years old, making it among the oldest — if not the oldest — known figurative art piece in the archaeological record.
    Producer/AuthorGeorge Dvorsky
    URLhttps://www.gizmodo.com.au/2021/01/cave-painting-of-pigs-might-be-the-oldest-known-artwork-of-animals/
    PersonsKira Westaway