The oldest cave art (and a UFO?)
Smithsonian magazine for January/February 2016 has an article [The Awakening] by Jo Marchant (photography by Justin Mott) about the world’s oldest representational paintings, found in an Indonesian cave on the island of Sulawesi. [Page 80 ff.]
The paintings are of stenciled hands and animals:
Stenciled hands, as I’ve shown previously at this blog, are endemic to cave art from all over the world.
Here are some ascribed to the Neanderthals, found at El Castillo in Spain.
The Smithsonian article presents the Sulawesi art as the oldest made by prehistoric man, about 38,000 B.C. but acknowledged that the very oldest is at Castillo, made about 40,000 B.C.
The hand paintings, made, allegedly, by the “artists” putting ocher in their mouths and blowing it over their hands.
The article also references a “red disk” in the Castillo cave as the first painting made by man.
It’s actually a red dot (or dots) and its significance remains a mystery.
(No, it’s not a representation of a flying disk or UFO, although I had hoped it had some similarity to flying saucers as we know them to be depicted.)
What I find interesting is that the stenciled hands found everywhere in cave art are so delicate, not representing as I would imagine a brutish appendage as one might expect from a Neanderthal or “cave man.”
Were cave artists mostly made up of delicate members of prehistoric tribes or were they women or younger members of the clans?
And how did hands become a signifying aspect of cave art, all over the world, in a time-frame of about 40,000 years to 37,000 years B.C.?
The article posits the migratory travels of primitive mankind, moving from Africa upward to the Middle East and then to Europe or eastward to India, and southward to Australia and, in this case, Indonesia.
The idea than early man moved all over the Eastern hemisphere, leaving notifications of their arrivals and domiciles (in caves) by way of handprints, I find intriguing.
Why not just a symbol or art print of another kind, a particular animal, spear or arrowhead, or food-stuff or something else iconic for early humankind?
Why no faces, or footprints (as easy to stencil, almost, as a hand)?
And do the red dots or “red disks” (as anthropologists have it) represent something more than a blotch of paint, like something seen in the skies? (Alien Astronaut theorists will have a go at that I think.)
Here are some links to material relevant to this posting, for those interested: