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18 February 2013
Rock art discovered off the coast of Papua

The 7th World archaeology Congress (WAC) has been held in Jordan, hosted by His Royal Highness Prince Al Hassan Bin Talal. One media release announced the findings of research that had been carried out by Jean-Michel Chazine, of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS - France). He had been approached by divers who had been exploring in the ocean, off the coast of West Papua. They had found some remarkable examples of rock art painted onto the face of cliffs which had started to slip under the ocean.
     In his statement, Jean-Michel Chazine expounded on the unique parameters in that area which had to be present before any rock art could be expected to be found. These parameters are the presence of a large, high cliff; a cave or cavity at the base of the cliff; a step-bank at the base of the cliff; a coloured strip flowing down towards the entrance of the cave or cavity. Remarkably, if one or more of these parameters were missing then no rock art would be found.
     Jordan was particularly proud to be the first Middle East host of the Congress, particularly in the light of the instability in the region and the recent loss of so much archaeology in nearby Syria. Professor Claire Smith, President of WAC, reinforced this decision by saying "Jordan's cultural heritage is of great significance to the world. We are delighted to be holding an international conference in Jordan at this time as it recognises Jordan's stability but also sends a message about the world's confidence in this stability".

Edited from WAC-7 (January 2013)

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