Ancient People Lived in East Timor 44,000 Years Ago, Scientists Find
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Ancient People Lived in East Timor 44,000 Years Ago, Scientists Find

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05-27-2024
 
Source: Pexels

East Timor, along with its neighboring Indonesia and Australia, was once among the early locations inhabited by humans.This is evidenced by thousands of artifacts found in a deep cave in the north of Timor Island. They bear signs of human life there as far back as 44,000 years ago.

Stone artifacts and animal bones from the cave, known as the Laili Rock Shelter, provide, according to scientists, new insights into where ancient people dwelled more than 35,000 years before the Egyptians built the first pyramids.

Analysis of deep sediments aged between 59,000 and 54,000 years from the cave and other sites in East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, revealed an "arrival signature," meaning humans were not present there earlier than 44,000 years ago.

"Unlike other sites in the region, the Laili Rock Shelter has preserved deep sediment deposits that date to a time when there was no clear evidence of human activity," said Simone Kealy, an archaeologist and paleobiologist at the Australian National University.

Timor Island is located south of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where a 45,500-year-old ochre pig cave painting was discovered in 2021. The life-size pig image is estimated to be the oldest cave art in the world. A year earlier, 44,000-year-old cave paintings were found in another Sulawesi cave, depicting half-human hunters apparently using spears and ropes to chase wild animals. This painting's discovery was named one of the top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2020 by Science magazine.

Many of the oldest cultural heritage sites on Earth are located in Australia, south of East Timor and Indonesia. Aboriginal Australians possess one of the oldest continuously inhabited cultures on Earth, as evidenced by archaeological evidence dating back at least 60,000 years. In Murujuga, northwestern Australia, about a million rock engravings include rock art dating back around 40,000 years. The carved figures depict images of now-extinct animals, including thylacines, also known as Tasmanian tigers. Earlier this year, the Murujuga cultural landscape was officially nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status.

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