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August 2005
Touch of the Past
 
Use the controls to zoom in and move around the image. Use the navigator box on the bottom left of the image as a shortcut. Photograph by Carsten Peter
Zoom in on the rock art of Borneo.

Ghostly hands—many decorated with dots, dashes, and other patterns—reach out from the wall of Gua Tewet in the rain forest of eastern Borneo. Dated back to more than 10,000 years ago, the stenciled hands may suggest initiation or shamanistic rituals, perhaps related to prehistoric Aboriginal art in Australia. The French-Indonesian expedition team called hands connected by long curving lines, at right, a "tree of life." The design may symbolize ties that connect individuals, families, territories, or spirits to each other.


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