January 14, 2021 - 13:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest known cave painting: a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was made at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia, The Guardian reports.
The finding, described in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday, January 13 provides the earliest evidence of human settlement of the region.
The Leang Tedongnge cave is located in a remote valley enclosed by sheer limestone cliffs, about an hour’s walk from the nearest road. It is only accessible during the dry season because of flooding during the wet season – and members of the isolated Bugis community told the team it had never before been seen by westerners.
Measuring 136cm by 54cm (53in by 21in), the Sulawesi warty pig was painted using dark red ochre pigment and has a short crest of upright hair, as well as a pair of horn-like facial warts characteristic of adult males of the species.
There are two hand prints above the pig’s hindquarters, and it appears to be facing two other pigs that are only partially preserved, as part of a narrative scene.
“The pig appears to be observing a fight or social interaction between two other warty pigs,” said co-author Adam Brumm.
Humans have hunted Sulawesi warty pigs for tens of thousands of years, and they are a key feature of the region’s prehistoric artwork, particularly during the ice age.