Padah-Lin Cave is an important archaeological site west of the Shan Plateau. It is in the Taunggyi district, which is capital of the Southern Shan State. Alternative spellings are Padalin and Badalin.
The paintings were only discovered by geologist U Khin Maung Kyaw in 1960. The first archaeological studies of caves in the Shan State were made during the 1937-1938 “American South-East Asiatic Expedition for Early Man” (De Terra & Movius 1938?, & Thaw 1969). As these caves only revealed finds of Neolithic culture, they were not further excavated at the time as the team was interested in older Palaeolithic remains. After Kyaw found the rock paintings, the Governnment organised research teams to exlore Padah-Lin in January 1969.
Padah-Lin consists of one main cave, and a nearby rock shelter where the paintings are. The rock shelter is more interesting from an archaeological point of view. Archaeological excavations revealed (Palaeolithic to early Neolithic) stone tools, as well as mammalian bones, mollusc shells and charcoal. The pebble tools are crude and many are unfinished. However due to the large numbers it is thought that the rock shelter was a tool making workshop as well as a place for habitation.
The paintings are done in ochre and show human hands as well as animals such as deer, bull, bison, elephant and fish. Ochre was found in the excavations. The paintings have deteriorated by weathering and deposition of calcium carbonate. The paintings have been confirmed as Neolithic.
Thaw, U Aung (1969), "The ‘neolithic‘ culture of the Padah-Lin Caves", Journal of Burma Research Society 52 (1): 9–23.