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Ref ID: 19009
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Aubert, Maxime
Lebe, Rustan
Oktaviana, Adhi Agus
Tang, Muhammad
Burhan, Basran
Jusdi, Andi
Hakim, Budianto
Zhao, Jian-xin
Geria, I. Made
Sulistyarto, Priyatno Hadi
Sardi, Ratno
Brumm, Adam
Title: Earliest hunting scene in prehistoric art
Date: 2019
Source: Nature
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1806-y
Abstract: Humans seem to have an adaptive predisposition for inventing, telling and consuming stories. Prehistoric cave art provides the most direct insight that we have into the earliest storytelling in the form of narrative compositions or ‘scenes’ that feature clear figurative depictions of sets of figures in spatial proximity to each other, and from which one can infer actions taking place among the figures. The Upper Palaeolithic cave art of Europe hosts the oldest previously known images of humans and animals interacting in recognizable scenes, and of therianthropes—abstract beings that combine qualities of both people and animals, and which arguably communicated narrative fiction of some kind (folklore, religious myths, spiritual beliefs and so on). In this record of creative expression (spanning from about 40 thousand years ago (ka) until the beginning of the Holocene epoch at around 10 ka), scenes in cave art are generally rare and chronologically late (dating to about 21–14 ka), and clear representations of therianthropes are uncommon—the oldest such image is a carved figurine from Germany of a human with a feline head (dated to about 40–39 ka). Here we describe an elaborate rock art panel from the limestone cave of Leang Bulu’ Sipong 4 (Sulawesi, Indonesia) that portrays several figures that appear to represent therianthropes hunting wild pigs and dwarf bovids; this painting has been dated to at least 43.9 ka on the basis of uranium-series analysis of overlying speleothems. This hunting scene is—to our knowledge—currently the oldest pictorial record of storytelling and the earliest figurative artwork in the world.
Volume: 576
Page Start: 442
Page End: 445