Skeleton Bounty: 66 Found In Tiger Cave

A cave in Sumatra has been the home for the remains of 66 skeletons for more than 3,000 years, archaeologists have come to discover.

If that already sounds like a rather strange development, researchers on the case say the particularly peculiar feature of the story is the large number of skeletons uncovered.

"Sixty-six is very strange," Truman Simanjuntak of Jakarta's National Research and Development Center for Archaeology said as relayed by LiveScience.  

Simanjuntak added that the strangeness stems from the fact that his colleagues and he have never found so many skeletons in one cave before.

According to the LiveScience report, other remains that were found in the cave - known as Harimaru or Tiger Cave - included those of dogs, pigs and chickens. It was in the Tiger Cave that some of Indonesia's first farmers resided thousands of years ago. The farmers also lived in similar limestone caverns nearby.

Tiger Cave is a special location because it also contained the first evidence of Sumatra's "rock art."

"There are still occupation traces deeper and deeper in the cave, where we have not excavated yet," Simanjuntak said. "So it means the cave is very promising."

The rock art found in Tiger Cave may seem old at 3,000 years of age, but can't compete with the aged relics of the oldest such art yet found, that of France's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," as chronicled by filmmaker Werner Herzog. That rock art is nearly 40,000 years old.

Those 66 persons whose remains were found in Tiger Cave lived in a time when the world population was 50 million, the Zhou dynasty reigned in China and Egypt was undergoing its prosperous New Kingdom.

Simanjuntak, meanwhile, is also the author and editor of several books including Austronesian Diaspora and the Ethnogeneses of People in Indonesian Archipelago: Proceedings of the International Symposium.

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