Oldest known figurative cave art discovered in Borneo

Oldest known figurative cave art discovered in Borneo


So, we start working in Kalimantan,
which is in Borneo. So we spent two field seasons in there but it’s very, very,
very remote and we have to go in the jungle for weeks at a time. We know
exactly where to go but there’s lots and lots of caves that are not
explored. So sometimes we just go off track and then we found
another cave with paintings. So it’s just everywhere. What we found in
Kalimantan, is we found the same kind of style of cave painting or like
animal paintings. So, large mammals. Of course it’s not the same animals, but they’re painted in the same styles of really large body, round body
and small legs and we were able to date one of them. The minimum age is 40,000 so it’s it’s about 5000 years at least older than the one in Sulawesi. There’s also a human hand stencil there that we’d dated, I think
the oldest one is about 37,000 or 38,000 but also as one of the most
important discovery of the paper that we show is that there’s more
than one style of cave painting there. So, we have and when you look at all of
the cave they always superimpose on top of each other. So, what we have actually is a first style of cave painting, which
is red hand stencils and large animal paintings and after that on top of it we
have another style of painting, which is more purple, like mulberry colour and we were able to date it. So, we were able to have minimum and maximum dates. So for the first phase we know that it was made, it started to be made between 40,000
and 50,000 maybe 40,000 and 52,000 but then we have a second phase of a rock art that was made between about 20,000 and 21,000. This is right at what we call the LGM, the last glacial maximum. So, it looks like there was a transition
from depicting the animal world to the human world, and it’s interesting because
I think we have the same thing in Europe. So, there’s different styles of
rock art in the Pleistocene in Europe. So, it seems we have the same thing in
in Southeast Asia at the opposite side of the world.

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