At this point, you are involved in one thing that makes us human: telling and using stories. It is impossible to tell when our species began to tell each other stories. Or when we first developed the ability to use language not only to communicate simple, practical concepts, but also to share vivid stories of real or imagined events. 43,900 years ago, people on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi started painting some of the images on the walls of the caves.
A newly discovered painting in a distant cave depicts a hunting scene, and this is the oldest history recorded. If Maximus Oubert and his colleagues at Griffith University Archaeologist are right, this may be the first record of their spiritual faith and the first testimony of what the creators of the cave thought.
44,000 years of hunting story
Across the 4.5-meter (14.8-ft) section of the rock wall, 3 meters (9.8-ft) on the floor, just above the floor of the upper chamber called Liang Bulu & # 39; Sipong 4, wild pigs and dwarf buffalo call Ano's a monochrome dark red color Against a group of little hunters. The dark red hand earrings decorate the left end of the mural, almost like the signature of an old artist. The sun's rays open on the northeast wall of the cave to illuminate the scene.
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Liang Bulu & # 39; Sipong 4 is a living cave that is still submerged in water, and layers of rock have begun to expand. The minerals that make up these layers contain small traces of uranium that dissolve over time in thorium-230. Unlike uranium, thorium is not soluble in water and can only be used as a rock. By measuring the ratio of uranium-234 to thorium-230 in the rock, archaeologists can tell how the recently formed rock layer came about.
The deposits have been slowly growing during the hunting fresco for at least 49,300 years, meaning that the drawing itself may be even older. This Liang Bulu & # 39; s Sipong 4 fresco is the oldest record of (what we know) the real story. At first glance, it seems to suggest a game drive in which humans hunt animals and line hunters with diapers or other weapons. If Aubert and his colleagues are right about this, it means that somebody created the first record of how he made a living 44,000 years ago.
But an ancient story written by a human hand may be more than a hunting record. "Some or all of these aspects of this image may not be relevant to the real-world human experience," wrote Aubert and his colleagues. Nearby, little hunters don't look quite human; Many of them have oddly elongated faces, more like animal puzzles or eggs. One has a tail, the other has a beard.
These figures may represent human hunters dressed in skins or masks. However, Oubert and his colleagues say they are more like teranthrops: human-animal hybrids found in cultures around the world, including a 15,500-year-old work in the French Lasko caves and a 40,000-year-old carved figure. From Germany.
Be it human, animal or both, hunters face predatory animals of monstrous or mythological proportions. In real life, Anoas is 100 cm (39.4 inches) tall and Indonesian wild boar is only 60 cm (23.6 inches) tall. On the four walls of Lian Bullou Sifong, the creatures were many times larger than the hunters against them. It looks like a scene from a legend, not a dry record of another day's hunt.
His presence suggests that Liang Bulu & # 39; s Sipong 4 may have been a sacred or at least important place for people who once lived in this area. Archaeologists have found no trace of the usual debris of human life – stone tools, missing bones, and no fire – nowhere in the cave or in the larger chamber beneath it. No wonder: Liang Bulu & # 39; Sipong 4 is located on a cliff 20 meters from the valley floor, and is simply not a walk.
"He needs access to the ladder, and this is not an occupation," Aubert told Ars. "So people were going there for another reason."
This story originally appeared on technology.
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