Archaeologists unearth ancient painting
French archaeologists have discovered an 11,000-year-old wall painting underground in northern Syria which they believe is the oldest in the world.The two-square-metre painting, in red, black and white, was found at the Neolithic settlement of Djade al-Mughara on the Euphrates, north east of the city of Aleppo, team leader Eric Coqueugniot told Reuters.
"It looks like a modernist painting. Some of those who saw it have likened it to work by (Paul) Klee. Through carbon dating we established it is from around 9,000 BC," Coqueugniot said.
"We found another painting next to it, but that won't be excavated until next year. It is slow work," said Coqueugniot, who works at France's National Centre for Scientific Research.
Rectangles dominate the ancient painting, which formed part of an adobe circular wall of a large house with a wooden roof. The site has been excavated since the early 1990s.
The painting will be moved to Aleppo's museum next year, Coqueugniot said. Its red came from burnt hematite rock, crushed limestone formed the white and charcoal provided the black.
The world's oldest painting on a constructed wall was one found in Turkey but that was dated 1,500 years after the one at Djade al-Mughara, according to Science magazine.
The inhabitants of Djade al-Mughara lived off hunting and wild plants. They resembled modern day humans in looks but were not farmers or domesticated, Coqueugniot said.
A large number of flints and weapons have been found at the site as well as human skeletons buried under houses.