In 2014, artwork found in a cave in Maros on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia has been determined to be at least 40,000 years old. This story started thousands of years ago, when large parts of Indonesia and Southeast Asia were connected in a massive landmass called Sundaland. During that time people were able to traverse this land and they settled in various places in this giant area. Years later, when the sea levels rose, the waters divided them while it also created the islands of Indonesia as we now know them.
This means that people who migrated and lived there created these paintings. Compared to other cave paintings found throughout the world, these are one of the oldest signs of human creative art yet, and they are most likely also pre-dating art found in various European caves. Hopefully, further research will provide even more accurate dating. Besides being an amazing discovery, it also provides proof that humans were capable of making art all over the world and that the European cave paintings were not unique.
These cave paintings are located in Maros, a small place near Makassar. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to visit the place myself, but my parents went there a few days before I arrived in Sulawesi. I really wanted to share and post the photos they took, because I think this place is very special. For example, one of the cave paintings features a man lacking a finger, which gives this art so much more character and really brings it to life. And these little details make the paintings so much more personal for me.
Finally, I just hope that these paintings will be protected from wear and erosion, and perhaps even be recognized as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in the future. But until that time it is the responsibility of the Indonesian government to preserve, maintain, and protect this historical site.