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Australian Cave paintings may be the oldest on the planet

Australian Cave paintings

A new method of dating could reveal the accurate age of Australian Cave paintings.

Cave paintings of indigenous Australians could be so old that it would take the number one spot as oldest cave paintings on the planet, surpassing by far the extraordinary paintings of the Cave of Altamira (Spain) and Chauvet (France).

Now researchers equipped with the latest technology used in dating, are there to prove it definitively. Researchers estimate that the mysterious cave paintings of ancient inhabitants of Australia could prove to be older than 50,000 years.

Scholars believe that the history of the earliest human cultures in Australia dates back to a period that could go from 50,000 to 80,000 years ago before the arrival of Europeans. Before colonization, there were hundreds of aboriginal groups calling Australia their homeland, each with its own artistic tradition, culture and language.

One of the most incredible cave paintings in Australia are those at Kimberley, located in the northwestern parts of the country. The ancient cave art of Kimberley has hundreds of paintings scattered over 400,000 square kilometers (an area about three times the size of England).

Previous studies suggest that the oldest rock art in the Kimberley is around 17,500 years old, a time period heavily disputed by scholars.

However, other researchers have for years maintained a theory suggesting that the cave paintings at Kimberly, which depict mysterious beings known as the Wanjina, could be over 100,000 years old.

Among the cave paintings found in the region, the biggest depictions measuring up to six meters in height has caught the attention of researchers who have already suggested several theories about who their creators were.

The natives of the region called these strange figures as the “wandjinas”, who were celestial beings that brought civilization and prosperity to the people. Curiously, like many other ancient civilizations worldwide, the “wandjinas” symbol was a feathered serpent. The cave paintings depict curious beings with sandals, something that has caught the attention of researchers since the native population of the region are barefooted. The beings in the cave paintings are also depicted with strange-looking toes varying in number from three to seven toes.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Professor Gleadow said: “If we can say that Australian art is the oldest continuous record anywhere on earth, that is extraordinary.”

“Kimberley rock art should be held up as one of the greatest cultural achievements in the great saga of human development and migration across our planet,” added professor Gleadow.



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