sign in a cave in Laos

24 November 2011

Cave of Hands, Leang Leang, Maros, Sulawesi

There are two caves of archaeological significance in the Leang Leang Park, which is in the Maros karst in southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is not far from the capital Ujung Pandang. I visited the site in 1994 with some English cavers.

Leang Leang means "many caves" in the Makassarese dialect. The village of Leang Leang lies at the southern end of the limestone massif which houses all these caves and rock shelters. Although there are other rock paintings in Indonesia, these are some of the most easily accessible.

Pettae cave was first studied in 1950. During the archaeological excavations, several stone artifacts were found, such as flakes, blades, arrow heads, neolithic axes etc., as well as animal bones. In the same year the cave paintings were also found.

Pettakere Cave was only studied in 1973, by a British archaeologist. Again cultural artifacts were found, as well as a human skeleton. The cave walls have hand paintings, as well as the babirusa. In 1979 archaeologists from South Sulawesi continued the excavations.

Hand stencils and babi rusa

The main hill

See more on the Bantimurung area.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

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