Hunting down the world’s oldest art in South Sulawesi, Indonesia

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South Sulawesi, Indonesia(CNN)Even in the shadows of the Leang-Leang caves, the colors are remarkably fresh: abundant deep maroons, lightened by limestone.

With its bulging upper body and spindly legs, the animal on the curving wall looks distorted.
But it’s not.
      The painting portrays a babirusa, or pig-deer, a types special to Sulawesi, Indonesia.
      And the culture that developed it made a few of the earliest art in the world.

      How much cave art exists?

      While Brumm’s research study is still in the early phases, he’s currently starting to construct an image of how the Maros-Pangkep individuals lived.
      “Generally, you’re handling extremely little, extremely mobile hunter-gatherer populations, who ‘d have moved round regularly from website to website and invested the majority of their break in the forest instead of in the caves themselves,” he states, hypothesizing that they primarily utilized the caves throughout the rainy season.
      Where they got their products continues to be a secret.
      “We have actually not yet handled to locate the source of the red ocher,” Brumm states.
      “It does not appear to have actually been regional. Perhaps it came through trading networks with other hunter-gatherer groups situated even more inland.”
      It’s not yet understood just how much rock art exists in the Maros-Pangkep karst area as a lot of the caves stay uncharted.
      In reality, as we drive from the Leang-Leang cave art park, where a museum is set to open in 2017 or 2018, to the Rammang-Rammang karst zone, a surge rumbles through the hills.
      Many of the caves are safeguarded by law, and some are traveler locations– a location called Bantimurung is house to a butterfly park, while hornbills nest above a flooded collapse Pangkep.
      But some vulnerable locations are actively being dynamited for cement, a main motorist of the economy in this establishing area.
      “It’s an issue,” Sumantri states merely.

      “I was here”

      At Rammang-Rammang, we get a little boat at a jetty, where resourceful residents are leasing sunhats for a couple of cents each.
      A terribly lovely trip brings us through dubious palms, under natural bridges, through remarkable karst canyons, to an easy farmhouse set amidst the rice paddies.
      Here we consume chicken curry, rice, sticky cakes and fresh veggies.
      Up in the karst above, an unnerving scramble through a slim cave lined with sculptural stalactites and stalagmites brings us to the edge of a teetering space.
      Our guide shines her headlamp down, exposing the fantastic blue of an underground river simply listed below us.
      Did these ancient artists see this view, I question?
      Close to the entryway, an ocher hand stencil rests high in the rock.
      I climb up to look.
      It’s tough to think that, 10s of countless years back, somebody came here and left this easy human indication that still checks out plainly “I was here.”
      Countless generations on, in a world where human resourcefulness has actually put a guy on the moon and set its sights on Mars, that message withstands.

      Getting there

      The Maros-Pangkep karst area is near Makassar, in South Sulawesi.
      Makassar’s Sultan Hasanuddin global airport, likewise called Ujung Pandang (UPG), has direct air travels from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and all over Indonesia.
      Plentiful buses to Maros stop outside the Leang-Leang cave art park.
      To reach Rammang-Rammang, work with an automobile or contact regional trip operators like Caraka TravelIndo .
      Freelance guides can organize multi-day trips.
      The extremely earliest outdated paintings, in Leang Timpuseng, are closed to casual visitors.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/22/travel/sulawesi-world-oldest-art/index.html