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Cave Art Mystery
AUGUST 2005
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Photo captions by Karen Lange
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Sacred Summits
Photograph by Luc-Henri Fage

Rising above the rain forest in eastern Borneo, the Marang Mountains contain 25 caves with paintings that date from the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. To document the art work, speleologist Luc-Henri Fage and archaeologist Jean-Michel Chazine first had to ascend the mountains' sheer sides to caves near the summits, then climb to the caves' ceilings. Chazine believes prehistoric hunter-gatherers chose to make their paintings in these hard-to-reach places precisely because getting there was a challenge—and would prepare would-be shamans to survive the isolation and deprivation of initiations.
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