Home > Archive >New Neolithic Wall-Painting Unearthed
Author:posted by jc
Thu, Oct 11th, 2007 12:47:08 PM
Topic: New Neolithic Wall-Painting Unearthed

According to the Reuters article below the, so far discovered, world’s oldest wall-painting has recently been located.

It is interesting to note the design is done in a style that can best be described as terraced. In fact, terracing is the way all slit-tapestry (kelim) weavings are articulated.

Does this possibility suggest at this time, which is thought to be circa 9,000 BC, there were kelims?

As many long time rug collectors and researchers know, the wall painting at Catal Huyuk, and its discoverer James Mellaart, have suggested this was the case.

And while the recent Syrian find appears to pre-date somewhat similar wall-paintings found at Catal Huyuk, this is not a certainty because archaeological work is ongoing at Catal Huyuk and more finds of wall –painting in lower strata of the site may prove to be even older.

This is a very exciting find and one that directly relates to pre-historic weaving and RK’s belief there were slit-tapestry weavings made circa 10,000Bc and possibly even much earlier.

World's oldest wall painting unearthed in Syria
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - 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 2 square-meter painting, in red, black and white, was found at the Neolithic settlement of Djade al-Mughara on the Euphrates, northeast 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 B.C.," 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.

"There was a purpose in having the painting in what looked like a communal house, but we don't know it. The village was later abandoned and the house stuffed with mud," he said.

A large number of flints and weapons have been found at the site as well as human skeletons buried under houses.

"This site is one of several Neolithic villages in modern day Syria and southern Turkey. They seem to have communicated with each other and had peaceful exchanges," Coqueugniot said.

Mustafa Ali, a leading Syrian artist, said similar geometric design to that in the Djade al-Mughara painting found its way into art throughout the Levant and Persia, and can even be seen in carpets and kilims (rugs).

"We must not lose sight that the painting is archaeological, but in a way it's also modern," he said.

France is an important contributor to excavation efforts in Syria, where 120 teams are at work. Syria was at the crossroads of the ancient world and has thousands of mostly unexcavated archaeological sites.

Swiss-German artist Paul Klee had links with the Bauhaus school and was important in the German modernist movement.

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