2500-year-old cave paintings found on tiny Indonesian island

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2500-year-old cave paintings found on tiny Indonesian island
2500-year-old cave paintings found on tiny Indonesian island

Sydney : Researchers found ancient cave paintings at a tiny Indonesian island, previously unexplored by archaeologists, dating from at least 2,500 years ago.

Around 28 rock art sites on the island of Kisar have been discovered. The treasurous area is spreaded in 81 square kilometres and lies north of East Timor.

The unearthed paintings portray boats, dogs, horses and people often holding what look like shields. Other scenes show people playing drums, indicating performance of ceremonies.

"Archeologically, no one has ever explored this small island before," said lead archaeologist Sue O'Connor, Professor at the Australian National University (ANU).

"These Indonesian islands were the heart of the spice trade going back for thousands of years," O'Connor added.

The latest discovery will give the history more substance than it was known before.

"The Kisar paintings include images which are remarkably similar to those in the east end of Timor-Leste (East Timor)," O'Connor said.

"A distinctive feature of the art in both islands is the exceptionally small size of the human and animal figures, most being less than 10 centimetres," she said, adding that despite their size, the paintings are remarkably dynamic.

The details about discovery of new rock paintings at the sites have been published in the Cambridge Journal of Archaeology. These paintings help tell the story of the region's history of trade and culture. 

The relationship between the island of Kisar and East Timor likely extends back to the Neolithic period 3,500 years ago, which saw an influx of Austronesian settlers who introduced domestic animals, such as the dog, and perhaps cereal crops, O'Connor said.

(With inputs from Agencies)