In an exciting discovery, researchers have uncovered prehistoric ornaments and art dating back to the last ice age.
The prehistoric jewelry and art have been discovered in Sulawesi, an island in Indonesia. The excavated artifacts date back 30,000 years ago.
What Was Ice Age?
Ice age was a long-term period of decrease in the Earth's surface and atmospheric temperature. The reductions in temperature led to the expansion of ice sheets all over the planet.
Ancient Jewelry Unearthed In Indonesia
The excavation team was led by Griffith University's Adam Brumm. The study regarding the recovered materials was co-penned by Michelle Langley, a doctorate fellow at Australian Research Council, Langley, also analyzed the artifacts.
The study was a joint effort between the team of the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, or ARCHE, along with their Indonesian colleagues. The unearthed prehistoric objects were discovered in a Sulawesi cave site named Leang Bulu Bettue.
The unearthed jewelry included a pendant and disc-shaped beads, carved out of bones of prehistoric animals. The artifacts date between 30,000 and 22,000 years ago.
The pendant was made from the finger bone of a possum-like marsupial called bear cuscus, which was native to the region. The disc-shaped beads were made from the teeth of pig-deer, or babirusas, which resembled tusked boar-like animals.
Along with jewelry, some "portable" objects associated with art were also discovered in the Wallacean islands of Sulawesi. The researchers unearthed stones etched with geometric patterns. However, their significance and meaning is unclear.
Langley and her team discovered that the cave was rich in rock art. The team also found abandoned pieces of ochre, as well as ochre stains on tools.
An ancient "blow pipe" made of bone was also found in the cave. This pipe may have been used to create hand stenciled motifs. The bone tube dates back roughly 40,000 years ago.
"Previously, assemblages of multiple and diverse types of Pleistocene 'symbolic' artifacts were entirely undocumented from Wallacea," said Langley.
What Do The Artifacts Reveal?
Brumm noted that the discovery of the ice age artifacts in Sulawesi evidences the existence of symbolic behavior among ancient humans.
"We uncovered abundant evidence for a variety of symbolic behavior, suggesting a flourishing artistic culture existed on Sulawesi during the tail end of the last ice age," said Brumm to Live Science.
The new findings indicate that ancient dwellers of Wallacea were artistically-inclined people, having a symbolic culture. This made them adapt easily to the other life forms such as, marsupials in that region.
The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.