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2 November 2009
'Matuto' petroglyphs found in New Guinea

Many 'matuto' petroglyphs were found in a number of villages of the Kaimana District, Provinice of Papua Barat (Indonesia). Matuto petroglyphs usually have a half-man lizard shape and are believed as the ancestor of heroes, Head of Jayapura Archaeology Center, Drs. M.Irfan Mahmud, M.Si said. According to Irfan, a lot of matuto petroglyphs were found at niche surfaces in several archaeological sites. Matuto motif belongs to an anthropomorphic group with religious meaning representing the people's ancestors living in Kaimana in prehistoric times, he added. He pointed out that besides matuto, the anthropomorphic group also includes a palm-print motif which means a protective power to prevent from evil things, and a human motif.
     Matuto paintings were found in the sites of Omborecena, Memnemba, Memnemnambe and Tumberawasi located in Maimai village. The prehistoric petroglyphs found in the area depict lizards, fishes, tortoises, crocodiles, snakes, birds and sea horses. Among the geometrical motifs found are images of the sun, direction marks, rectangles and circles. The pictures of prehistoric man's objects include  shapes of boats, boomerangs, spears, rock axes, sago hammers and masks.

Source: Antara News (26 October 2009)

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