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Updated Jul 3, 2024, 6:25pm EDT

World’s oldest cave art discovered

Brin/Reuters
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Cave paintings in Indonesia turned out to be 4,000 years older than thought, making them the world’s oldest known representational artworks. Archaeologists used new techniques to date the images in limestone caves on the island of Sulawesi, and found they were around 51,000 years old — predating the earliest European cave paintings by 15,000 years.

Earlier artworks exist, notably in Spain and Africa, but are abstract: The Indonesia paintings include figurative images of human-animal hybrids hunting pigs. The discovery supports the idea that any cognitive leap required for figurative art happened before humanity’s ancestors left Africa.

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