Indonesia Pig Painting Dates to 43,000 Years Ago

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January 12, 2021

Archaeologists say that they have found one of the world's oldest known cave paintings. The life-size wall-art depiction of pigs, found in Indonesia, has been dated as 43,900 years old.

Warty pig cave painting

The cave is on the island of Sulawesi, at a site called Leang Tedongnge. On one of the walls of the cave is a painting that shows a confrontation between three warty pigs, one of which is 54 inches long and 21 inches high. Descendants of the short-legged, wart-faced porcine creatures are living in Indonesia and elsewhere even today.

Archaeologists used a process of uranium-series isotope dating of mineral deposits in order to determine the date of the cave painting. The process provides a minimum age; the archaeologists stressed that in many cases, the art could be older than the readings indicated because the deposits measured might not be the ones that were there when the art was finished. The archaeological team, led by Australians from Brisbane's Griffith University, found another pig painting at another nearby site that dated as 32,000 years old.

Sulawesi is home to more than 300 cave art sites, including the oldest known depiction of a hunting scene, found at a cave known as Leang Bulu' Sipong 4; archaeologists have dated that painting as 43,900 years old as well. The same team of archaeologists announced in 2014 that people living on the island created stencils of their hands on cave walls 39,900 years ago.

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