Artwork in an Indonesian cave has been found to date back at least 40,000 years, making it the oldest sign yet of human creative art — likely pre-dating art from European caves.
The findings undermine a Eurocentric view of the origins of human creativity and could prompt a ‘gold rush’ to find even older art on the route of human migration from Africa to the east.
The analysis hints at “just what a wealth of undiscovered information there is in Asia”, says Alistair Pike, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, UK, who in 2013 identified what had been considered the world’s oldest cave art, in Europe2, and had no involvement in the current project. “This paper will likely prompt a hunt.”
The Indonesian images, discovered in a limestone cave on the island of Sulawesi in the 1950s, had previously been thought to date back only 10,000 years. Anything older…
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