A Recently-Discovered 44,000-Year-Old Cave Painting Tells the Oldest Known Story

Colin Marshall over at Open Culture:

Where did art begin? In a cave, most of us would say — especially those of us who’ve seen Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams — and specifically on the walls of caves, where early humans drew the first representations of landscapes, animals, and themselves. But when did art begin? The answer to that question has proven more subject to revision. The well-known paintings of the Lascaux cave complex in France go back 17,000 years, but the paintings of that same country’s Chauvet cave, the ones Herzog captured in 3D, go back 32,000 years. And just two years ago, Griffith University researchers discovered artwork on a cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi that turns out to be about 44,000 years old.

Here on Open Culture we’ve featured the argument that ancient rock-wall art constitutes the earliest form of cinema, to the extent that its unknown painters sought to evoke movement. But cave paintings like the one in Sulawesi’s cave Leang Bulu’ Sipong 4, which you can see in the video above, also shed light on the nature of the earliest known forms of storytelling.

More here.