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kottke.org posts about indonesia

44,000 Year-Old Cave Painting in Indonesia Is World’s Oldest Figurative Art

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 16, 2019

A team of archaeologists has found a massive painting in a cave in Indonesia that uranium dating analysis shows to be around 43,900 years old, which they say is “currently the oldest pictorial record of storytelling and the earliest figurative artwork in the world”.

Indonesia Rock Art

Indonesia Rock Art

Cave painting was assumed to have originated in Europe, but these Indonesian paintings are thousands of years older. From an NPR piece on the discovery:

Genevieve von Petzinger, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Victoria, says the discoveries in her field are happening very quickly, thanks to newer technology such as the technique used to date the hunting scene. “I think the overall theme here really is that we’ve vastly underestimated the capacity of our ancestors,” she says.

She says the oldest cave paintings in Europe and Asia have common elements. And she thinks that even older paintings will eventually be found in the place where both groups originated from.

“Personally, I think that our ancestors already knew how to do art before they left Africa,” von Petzinger says.

Von Petzinger is the scientist behind one of the most intriguing things I learned this year, that the Stone Age symbols found in caves all over the world may be part of a single prehistoric writing system.

The Indonesian customized Vespa scene is straight out of Mad Max

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 30, 2018

Indonesia Vespa 01

Indonesia Vespa 02

Festivals dedicated to the celebration and modification of Vespa scooters are held in various places around Indonesia. Photographer Darren Whiteside traveled to these festivals to capture the “extreme Vespa” scene going on there. I love the creativity and ingenuity on display here. For more, here’s a video tour of the 2018 festival in Kediri.

(via robin sloan)

40,000 year-old cave paintings found in Indonesia

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 08, 2014

Sulawesi Cave Paintings

Paintings in a cave in Indonesia have been dated to 40,000 years ago, as old or older than any paintings found in Europe.

For decades, the only evidence of ancient cave art was in Spain and southern France. It led some to believe that the creative explosion that led to the art and science we know today began in Europe.

But the discovery of paintings of a similar age in Indonesia shatters this view, according to Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

“It is a really important find; it enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe and did not develop in other parts of the world until much later,” he said.

The discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings at opposite ends of the globe suggests that the ability to create representational art had its origins further back in time in Africa, before modern humans spread across the rest of the world.

“That’s kind of my gut feeling,” says Prof Stringer. “The basis for this art was there 60,000 years ago; it may even have been there in Africa before 60,000 years ago and it spread with modern humans”.

Photos of the absurdly polluted Citarum River

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 06, 2007

Photos of the absurdly polluted Citarum River in Indonesia. “Their occupants no longer try to fish. It is more profitable to forage for rubbish they can salvage and trade — plastic bottles, broken chair legs, rubber gloves — risking disease for one or two pounds a week if they are lucky.”

Even though avian flu is under control

posted by Jason Kottke   May 22, 2006

Even though avian flu is under control in some areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia “has witnessed more bird flu deaths than any other country in 2006”.

Further discovery of Homo floresiensis bones

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2005

Further discovery of Homo floresiensis bones have strengthened researchers’ argument that the so-called Hobbit is a new and distinct human species. More on Flores man at Nature, which is doing a weekly podcast now.