40,000 year old paintings excavated in Asia may rewrite history of art

A recent excavation project disclosed that art may not have originated in Europe but also along the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

ANI| Updated: Oct 09, 2014, 12:31 PM IST

London: A recent excavation project disclosed that art may not have originated in Europe but also along the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Dr Maxime Aubert, of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, dated the paintings found in Maros in Southern Sulawesi, as probably the earliest of its type, the BBC reported.

Australian and Indonesian scientists have dated layers of stalactite-like growths that have formed over colored outlines of human hands.

A figurative depiction of a pig in Sulawesi cave maybe one of the oldest, nearly 35,400 years old.

When compared to the painting from El Castillo cave in northern Spain dated to be 37,300 years old points to the fact that humanization may be not restricted to Europe anciently and the discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings at opposite ends of the globe suggests that the ability to create representational art had its origins further back in time in Africa, before modern humans spread across the rest of the world.

Dr Muhammad Ramli, an archaeologist working with the Makassar branch of Indonesia's Preservation for Heritage Office, said that the Sulawesian paintings in Maros were being being damaged because of pollution over the years.

There is a strong necessity to conduct conservation studies in order to find the best way of preserving these sites so that the paintings may last.

The research was published in the journal Nature.