Indonesian stencils rival age of Europe’s early cave art | Science News

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Indonesian stencils rival age of Europe’s early cave art

Hand prints outlined in pigment were created nearly 40,000 years ago

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1:00pm, October 8, 2014
Hand stencils from around 35,000 years ago

OLD HAND  Hand stencils such as this one previously found in caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi date to the Stone Age, a new study finds. Two hand prints are about as old as the earliest examples of European cave art.

So much for Europe’s reputation as the birthplace of cave art.

A couple of hand outlines framed in pigment, discovered decades ago inside caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, were created roughly 40,000 years ago, a new study finds, making them similar in age to Europe’s oldest art. Two animal drawings inside Sulawesi caves are almost as old as the hand prints.

These Southeast Asian discoveries challenge a longstanding view that a burst of Stone Age creativity, exemplified by cave art, first occurred in Western Europe around 40,000 years ago before appearing in other parts of the world.

People living on Sulawesi, about 13,000 kilometers from famous cave paintings in France and Spain, made artistic strides comparable to those of West Europeans at the same Stone Age juncture, reports a team led by archaeologists Maxime Aubert and Adam Brumm, both of Griffith University in Southport, Australia. The oldest Sulawesi hand stencil, formed by blowing,

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