Rock art Sulawesi oldest in the world

SULAWESI, 9 October 2014 - Rock art on the Indonesian island Sulawesi is the oldest known form of human creative art on earth. Scientists published these findings in this week's scientific journal Nature. They ised uranium dating techniques that have been around for quite a while but that no one had ever bothered to use on the drawings in the Sulawesian caves.

The art work was discovered in the 1950's by the Dutch, but back then experts estimated the stencils to be around 10,000 years old. Scientists from the Griffith University in Australia sampled 12 stencils of human hands and two images of animals.  They found that the oldest artworks date back at least 39,900 years. Which makes them older than the prehistoric cave art in Europe. 

And here it gets really interesting. Because that more or less destroys all the theories about Neanderthalers being the first beings that created art, since no Neanderthaler ever made it to Indonesia. The scientists told Nature that this proves that this kind of artwork either arose indepently on the Indonesian islands or early humans leaving Africa already has the capacity to make art and thus spread their knowledge around the world. 

The scientists hope that their findings will leas to better protection of the site as well as other places in Asia where cave art has been found. The Australian team told Nature that they are now also looking into researching other caves on Sulawesi and on the island of Borneo.