Over the past decade, archaeologists have been able to directly date rock art, particularly in Island Southeast Asia at sites in East Kalimantan, East Timor and South Sulawesi. The dates of rock art indicate that modern humans were creating rock art during the Pleistocene, comparable to similar rock art in Europe. In this paper by Aubert et al., the authors note that the presence of these sites and dates now begs the question, did the ability to create rock art move out of Africa with human migrations, or did it erupt independently in different parts of the world? Also within Island Southeast Asia, did rock art develop from a specific place and spread throughout prehistoric Sahul, or did it arise independently among different communities in the region?
Recent technological developments in scientific dating methods and their applications to a broad range of materials have transformed our ability to accurately date rock art. These novel breakthroughs in turn are challenging and, in some instances, dramatically changing our perceptions of the timing and the nature of the development of rock art and other forms of symbolic expression in various parts of the late Pleistocene world. Here we discuss the application of these methods to the dating of rock art in Southeast Asia, with key implications for understanding the pattern of recent human evolution and dispersal outside Africa.
The Timing and Nature of Human Colonization of Southeast Asia in the Late Pleistocene: A Rock Art Perspective – Current Anthropology
A story about the history of horses in Indonesia, drawing on rock art and evidence from inscriptions from all over the region. Some depictions of horses on rock art suggest that horses may have been in Indonesia longer than the conventional 13th century, when horses were thought to be introduced with the Chinese. Some bits are speculative, but it is a fascinating read nonetheless.
Liang Kobori, South Sulawesi. Source: Jakarta Post 20151208
A tale of prehistoric horses in South Sulawesi
Jakarta Post, 08 December 2015
Horses were once thought to have come to the Indonesian archipelago around the 13th century along with the arrival of the until-then invincible fleet of the Yuan Dynasty from China founded by Kublai Khan. The descendants of the mounted cavalry that established the largest empire in history came to impose their imperial supremacy on the Archipelago, specifically on Java, which was at the time witnessing the fall of the Singasari kingdom.
That mighty army was driven back to the sea by Raden Wijaya’s troops, who later established the Majapahit kingdom. In their retreat, the armada left many high-quality war horses behind. The descendants of those war horses still roam the Dieng Plateau and appear very similar to Mongolian horses.
But the perception that horses were first brought to the archipelago by the Mongol armada is a grave error. Horses were already found in the archipelago centuries before the arrival of the armies from the north. Borobudur and Prambanan Temples, built around the 9th century, are decorated with several panels depicting horses.
Outside of Java, historical remains and cultural artifacts featuring horses can be found in many places.
– See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/12/08/a-tale-prehistoric-horses-south-sulawesi.html#sthash.D5lwcHVs.dpuf
Researchers in South Sulawesi will embark on a new project to research the caves found in the province, which are rich in prehistoric material and rock art.
Research into South Sulawesi prehistoric caves continues
Jakarta Post, 11 February 2015
The Makassar Cultural Heritage Preservation Center (BPCB) is working with the city’s Hasanuddin University and Ujungpandang Heritage to conduct new research into prehistoric caves located in Maros and Pangkajene Islands (Pangkep) regencies in South Sulawesi.
BPCB archeologist and research coordinator Rustan said the studies were aimed at updating research conducted 10 years ago, which had not since been updated, especially after Indonesian and Australian researchers discovered a painting in Maros in 2014, believed to be as old as those found in Europe.
“The data on prehistoric caves in South Sulawesi, especially in Maros and Pangkep, is based on 10-year-old research, and a number of archeologists felt that the quality of paintings in the caves had deteriorated and been degraded. It has even been suggested that the degradation is taking place rapidly,” said Rustan
Full story here.