Discovered: 40,000 Year-Old Cave Art Hunting Scene

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Six humanoid figures with animal features surround an anoa, a small type of buffalo, in a 44,000-year-old Indonesian cave mural. (Ratno Sardi)

Newly Discovered Indonesian Cave Art May Represent World’s Oldest Known Hunting Scene

by Katherine J. Wu/Smithsonian.com

Deep in the bowels of a cave system on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, in a dim chamber accessible only to the most intrepid of spelunkers, lies a red-tinted painting depicting what appears to be a vivid hunt or ritual. In the scene, two wild pigs and four anoas, or dwarf buffaloes, scurry about as their apparent pursuers—mythical, humanoid figures sporting animal features like snouts, beaks and tails—give chase, armed with rope- and spear-like weapons.

Though its pigment is faded and its rocky canvas chipped, the mural is a breathtaking work of art that hints at the sophistication of its creators. And, at an estimated 44,000 years old, the work is poised to help researchers rewrite the history of visual storytelling, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Nature.

If this date is correct, the newly discovered cave painting represents the oldest known example of a story told through art, predating comparable murals previously found in Europe. The findings offer a new understanding of when and where modern humans first acquired the self-awareness and creativity needed to translate life forms and objects from the real world into the abstract.

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Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.

Carol’s Archives 2009-2013
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