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Ice age art in Indonesia reveals how spiritual life transformed (2017) (theguardian.com)
43 points by diodorus 2 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments

The Significance section of the paper Early human symbolic behavior in the Late Pleistocene of Wallacea [1]:

> We present evidence from the Late Pleistocene of Sulawesi, Indonesia, where an unusually rich and unique symbolic complex was excavated from archaeological deposits spanning 30,000 to 22,000 y ago. Including previously unknown practices of self-ornamentation, used ochre, pigmented artifacts, and portable art, these findings advance our knowledge of the cultural repertoires of modern humans in Pleistocene Wallacea, including the nonparietal artworks and symbolic material culture of some of the world’s earliest known “cave artists.”

[1] https://www.pnas.org/content/114/16/4105

Rather timely as BBC’s In our Time podcast has just done a reasonable dive into the theme of Cave Art: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000mqn7

Is anyone ever trying to put the stone age culture to the film accurately? That they were not some dirty brutes but they had rich oral tradition and art and rituals and music. They wore richly decorated clothing or elaborate body paint. They knew how to use ash and herbs to disinfect their straw beds. Had actually sharper tools than we usually have. The childhood was brutal no doubt, but when one reached adulthood, quite long and happy life could be expected. They built megaliths and some lived in cities, after all.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog is about absolutely stunning cave art discovered in France and immediately preserved by the government. The cave was immediately sealed off from the public and a team of professionals has studied it ever since. They installed pathways to prevent damage, climate control, special lights, etc. Werner was the first person they let film inside. Absolutely incredible film. We watched it on a lark and we were all mesmerized. It isn’t just about the art but about ancient Stone Age man in general.


I think I've seen this already, but I'm not sure. Anyways, what was mentioned in the context of that cave, or another one "nearby" in Europe is that they used that cave for thousands of years. That is no single snapshot of the past, but of a timeframe of several thousands of years of continous use.

Can't remember exactly anymore, maybe even 5000.

Astonishing. Do we have a gathering place used that long? I feel compared to that we are the nomads.

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