Cave paintings created around 40,000 years ago on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, among the world’s oldest cave art, are being destroyed by the climate crisis. A new study conducted by researchers at the Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit of Griffith University in Australia describes the damage of rock art panels in recent decades due to climate-induced haloclasty, or salt crystallization.
The researchers found evidence of degradation on Pleistocene-aged artworks at 11 sites in the Maros-Pangkep cave complex of southern Sulawesi. The region boasts a 45,000-year-old, life-sized painting of a wild pig that was recently identified as the earliest known depiction of an animal, as well as the world’s oldest hand stencil and what may be the earliest narrative scene in prehistoric art. While climate fluctuations have long been a risk factor for the Maros-Pangkep limestone karsts, the threat has deepened in recent decades and is likely to intensify as temperatures continue to rise.
“These artworks are located in the world’s most atmospherically dynamic region, the Australasian monsoon domain,” says a report authored by Jill Huntley and the rest of the research team for the academic journal Nature. Extreme patterns of increased seasonal moisture from monsoonal rains and worsening droughts due to anthropogenic climate change are creating the ideal conditions for haloclasty and accelerating rock art deterioration, they add.
“The extent of salt efflorescence in the 11 Maros-Pangkep sites we investigated, coupled with conservative forecasts for a 1.5 to 2°C raise in global temperatures and accompanying extreme weather events, have grave implications for the conservation of this globally significant cultural heritage,” the study says.
The researchers say that aside from limestone quarrying carried out by the cement and marble industries, “global warming should be regarded as the greatest threat to the preservation of the ancient rock art that survives in Sulawesi and other parts of tropical Indonesia.”
If there is an object you have ever desired in your life, rest assured that someone in the advertising industry made money convincing you of exactly that.
Eva Hagberg’s new book sheds light on the relationship between critic and publicist Aline Louchheim and architect Eero Saarinen.
The award-winning Canadian artist explores notions of power through the imagery of science fiction in portraits, sculpture, and objects.
Custodians, groundskeepers, and movers at the Rhode Island School of Design are seeking wage improvement, healthcare benefits, and a retirement package.
Ceramic fried eggs, critiques of real estate, and a whole booth dedicated to female-identifying saints caught my eye at Untitled, NADA, and Art Miami.
This affordable, interdisciplinary program with excellent facilities and private studios offers in-person instruction for 2023.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office recovered 23 looted objects from Shelby White’s home over the last year and a half.
An egregious “anti-woke” billboard erected in Los Angeles attempts to sow division among Latino/a/x communities.
The latest episode of this documentary series on PBS explores the meaning of home through handmade objects, hand built homes, and the artists who create them.
This week, missed signs of previous life on Mars, the appeal of forged art, and why are blue whales singing in lower octaves?
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed forcefully posits multiple parallels between the world Nan Goldin grew up in and the one she fights in today.
Rhode Island School of Design opens registration for its residential summer Pre-College program and year-round online intensive Advanced Program Online.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including Bob Thompson, Aimee Goguen, Uta Barth, the Transcendental Painting Group, and more.
There is the singular artist and then there is the more exclusive club that has only one member. Harvey belongs to the latter.