174,000 km 2 ) sopra Wallacea, a biogeographically distinct ceinture of oceanic islands situated between continental Asia and Australia (Fig. 1). The earliest archaeological evidence is from Talepu, a Middle Pleistocene site in the south of the island (1). The Talepu findings comprise mediante situ stone artifacts associated with fossils of extinct terrestrial megafauna (1). Dated sicuro
194 onesto 118 thousand years (ka), these artifacts may reflect initial colonization by an as-yet unidentified archaic hominin (1). It is not yet insecable when anatomically modern humans (AMH) first colonized Sulawesi. AMH appear puro have been established mediante mainland Southeast Asia (Sunda) by 73 onesto 63 ka (2). They were also possibly sopra Pleistocene Australia–New Guinea (Sahul) by 69 onesto 59 ka (3). There is some controversy, however, over the validity of the latter age estimates (4), which are based on recent excavations at Madjedbebe rock shelter sopra northern Australia (3). In some models of early human settlement durante Sahul, the large Sulawesi landmass would have been the first “stop” on a series of ocean crossings through northern Wallacea sicuro the western tip of New Guinea (5). If the oldest published dates for Madjedbebe (3) are affermis, then Homo sapiens may have reached Sulawesi up preciso 69 esatto 59 ka.
450-km 2 lowland “tower” karst region con the island’s southwestern peninsula (Fig. 1). Some 300 caves and shelters with parietal imagery have now been identified durante this area. Two cave art sites are also known from the Bone karsts
35 km to the east (Fig. 1). At least two chronologically distinct styles of rock art are evident on the basis of scientific dating and studies of superimposition. These comprise (i) an initial style phase of well-established Pleistocene antiquity (6, 7) and (ii) a later phase that postdates the arrival of Austronesian-speaking farmers and the onset of the “Neolithic” farming transition around 4 ka (9). Where mai sequence of superimposition is evident, the former is distinguishable from the latter durante terms of subject matter, technique, and preservation (6, 10).
Materials and methods
24 preciso 16 ka (18). Evidence for rock art production of per broadly similar antiquity is found mediante karst areas per the adjacent island of Borneo: At Lubang Jeriji Saleh, a high-level limestone cave in Kalimantan, U-series dating indicates per minimum age of 40 ka for verso figurative painting of a Bornean banteng (Bos javanicus lowi) (19).
U-series isotope dating at Leang Tedongnge
12 mm 2 ) overlaid the red pigment associated with one of the rear feet of pig 1 on the main rock art panel (Fig. 5, Per onesto C). This speleothem was too small sopra size sicuro remove with per rotary tool. Hence, we used a small chisel preciso prise it from the cave wall surface. The recovered sample (LTed3) comprises multiple layers of dense and nonporous calcite. The portion of speleothem we removed from the cave wall extends from its outer surface through the pigment layer and into the underlying rock face (Fig. 5, D and Ancora). After we had removed it from the cave wall, we noted that the portion of the underlying paint layer previously covered by the coralloid speleothem had che tipo di away with the latter-that is, the rock art pigment was affixed onesto the segno of the sampled speleothem. Sopra the laboratory, we micro-excavated LTed3 sopra arbitrary “spits” that extended over the entire surface of the speleothem. This produced verso series of four aliquots measuring less than 1 mm durante thickness (Fig. 5, F puro G). We observed the red pigment layer corresponding puro the artwork across the entire length of the sample. The pigment layer was also clearly visible sopra the rear portion of the sample that was partially covered by translucent calcite from the cave wall (Fig. 5E). Sopra total, we obtained three incontri sparky U-series age determinations for the LTed3 speleothem (Table 1). The resultant dates yielded indistinguishable ages within uncertainties (Table 1). This suggests closed-system conditions for uranium and thorium (Materials and Methods). The results of U-series dating indicate per minimum age of 45.5 ka for the large figurative image of per suid at Leang Tedongnge (Fig. 3 and Materials and Methods).