Sulawesi has per long history of human occupation

174,000 km 2 ) per Wallacea, per biogeographically distinct zone of oceanic islands situated between continental Asia and Australia (Fig. 1). The earliest archaeological evidence is from Talepu, verso Middle Pleistocene site durante the south of the island (1). The Talepu findings comprise per situ stone artifacts associated with fossils of extinct terrestrial megafauna (1). Dated sicuro

194 puro 118 thousand years (ka), these artifacts may reflect initial colonization by an as-yet unidentified archaic segno benaughty in hominin (1). It is not yet un when anatomically modern humans (AMH) first colonized Sulawesi. AMH appear puro have been established in mainland Southeast Oriente (Sunda) by 73 puro 63 ka (2). They were also possibly per Pleistocene Australia–New Guinea (Sahul) by 69 sicuro 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 con northern Australia (3). In some models of early human settlement mediante Sahul, the large Sulawesi landmass would have been the first “stop” on verso series of ocean crossings through northern Wallacea to the western tip of New Guinea (5). If the oldest published dates for Madjedbebe (3) are affecte, then Homo sapiens may have reached Sulawesi up esatto 69 onesto 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 dipartimento. Two cave art sites are also known from the Bone karsts

35 km sicuro 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) verso later phase that postdates the arrival of Austronesian-speaking farmers and the onset of the “Neolithic” farming transition around 4 ka (9). Where in nessun caso sequence of superimposition is evident, the former is distinguishable from the latter sopra terms of subject matter, technique, and preservation (6, 10).

Materials and methods

24 preciso 16 ka (18). Evidence for rock art production of verso broadly similar antiquity is found in karst areas sopra the adjacent island of Borneo: At Lubang Jeriji Saleh, a high-level limestone cave con Kalimantan, U-series dating indicates a minimum age of 40 ka for verso figurative painting of per 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, A sicuro C). This speleothem was too small sopra size preciso remove with a rotary tool. Hence, we used a small chisel esatto 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 come away with the latter-that is, the rock art pigment was affixed puro the affatto of the sampled speleothem. Durante the laboratory, we micro-excavated LTed3 sopra arbitrary “spits” that extended over the entire surface of the speleothem. This produced per series of four aliquots measuring less than 1 mm sopra thickness (Fig. 5, F onesto G). We observed the red pigment layer corresponding preciso 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). In total, we obtained three 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 a minimum age of 45.5 ka for the large figurative image of verso suid at Leang Tedongnge (Fig. 3 and Materials and Methods).