Radiocarbon dating of ancient rock paintings

14-Jun-2017 03:09

These dates open the floodgates for researchers to ask and answer questions about the rock art that have baffled them for decades. In some sites, paintings continued to be made for more than a thousand years."This is astonishing," says Pearce, "people returned to the same rock shelters over very long periods of time to make rock paintings very similar to those made centuries or millennia before.This finding has profound implications for our understanding of hunter-gatherer religion in southern Africa." Research was conducted in the Thune Dam in Botswana, the Metolong Dam area in the Phuthiatsana Valley of Lesotho, and the Drakensberg Escarpment of the Eastern Cape in the 'Nomansland' region of South Africa.A total of 43 new dates were produced from these three areas, including the first direct dates on rock paintings ever in Botswana and Lesotho.When not writing, you'll find Laura playing Ultimate Frisbee.This report presents progress made on a technique for C dating pictographs. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

The team then developed a new method that isolated the original carbon from the paint — in this case, charcoal, soot and carbon black (a blend of burnt fat) — so they could determine the age with radiocarbon dating.Here we report on a new technique which allows this separation to be effected by using a low-temperature, low-pressure oxygen plasma to oxidize selectively the organic component; this may then be analysed using standard C methods.We have applied this technique to a portion of a pictograph from the Lower Pecos region of southwest Texas (Fig. (To listen to a podcast about this feature, please go to the Analytical Chemistry website at ABSTRACT: The Canning Stock Route Project (Rock Art and Jukurrpa) has yielded the first radiocarbon dates for rock paintings in the Western Desert of Australia.

The team then developed a new method that isolated the original carbon from the paint — in this case, charcoal, soot and carbon black (a blend of burnt fat) — so they could determine the age with radiocarbon dating.

Here we report on a new technique which allows this separation to be effected by using a low-temperature, low-pressure oxygen plasma to oxidize selectively the organic component; this may then be analysed using standard C methods.

We have applied this technique to a portion of a pictograph from the Lower Pecos region of southwest Texas (Fig.

(To listen to a podcast about this feature, please go to the Analytical Chemistry website at

ABSTRACT: The Canning Stock Route Project (Rock Art and Jukurrpa) has yielded the first radiocarbon dates for rock paintings in the Western Desert of Australia.

Indeed, it has been a major obstacle in this area of research.