BRIN researchers awarded for discovery of oldest figurative painting

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It strengthens the foundation of our national identity.

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Researchers from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) won the 2022 Achmad Bakrie Award (PAB) in the science category here on Sunday for their discovery of the world’s oldest figurative painting.

“The sample of the painting was taken to the lab and after being analyzed using the uranium series method, it turned out (that it was made) 45,500 years ago,” one of the researchers, Adhi Agus Oktaviana, told ANTARA here on Monday.

The research team consisted of Oktaviana and Budianto Hakim, who are researchers with the BRIN’s Archaeological Research Center, as well Pindi Setiawan, Basran Burhan, and Rustan L.P. Santari, who are academics and cultural heritage practitioners.

Oktaviana informed that the research was a collaboration between the National Archaeological Research Center and the Makassar Archaeological Center, which are now affiliated with BRIN; the South Sulawesi Cultural Heritage Preservation Center; as well as lecturers and students of Hasanuddin University and Kendari Halu Oleo University.

The team found the 45,500-years old figurative painting, which depicted a wild boar, on the wall of Leang Tedongnge Cave, Maros sub-district, South Sulawesi province, in December 2017.

The team also found another figurative painting at Leang Bulu Sipong Cave, South Sulawesi province, which was estimated to be between 35,100 years to 43,900 years old.

In addition, Oktaviana said, a painting of Therianthropy, which is a half-human and half-animal figure, was found at the site.The painting serves as proof of the world’s oldest hunting activity.

The team also found other figurative paintings in old caves in East Kalimantan province.

Furthermore, Santari said that it was presumed that the ancient people made the paintings using a simple brush, which could have been made from modified roots or twigs.

Meanwhile, for making the hand figures, they might havedrawn their hands on the cave wall and colored them, he added.

Meanwhile, Hakim said that the discoveries of the ancient figurative paintings, which are older than the ancient paintings found in Europe, showed that the ancestors of Indonesians were more prominent than the ancestors of Europeans.

“It strengthens the foundation of our national identity,” he added.

The 2022 PAB was initiated by Indonesian conglomerate Bakrie Group’s Achmad Bakrie Foundation. The award was not given out in the previous two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other categories at the 2022 PAB included literature, social thought, health, and the contribution of international scientists to Indonesia.

Related news: Turn crisis into opportunity through research, innovation: BRIN
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