Methods dating rock art
The best-known sites are in the Upper Paleolithic (UP)of Europe, where polychrome (multi-colored) paintings made of charcoal and ochre and other natural pigments were used to illustrate extinct animals, humans, and geometric shapes some 20,000-30,000 years ago."Rock art is notoriously difficult to date," says David."Most pigment art contains no dateable carbon, and therefore radiocarbon dating is usually not feasible." What is known as the oldest rock art in the world - cave paintings in Indonesia and Spain — was dated using a more complex method that measures the age of a microscopic layer of minerals deposited after the art is created. Instead of measuring the decay of radioactive carbon, this method relies on measuring the decay of uranium in the microscopic layer to provide a minimum age for the art.Stylistic changes in artifact types have been used as chronological markers in seriation since the late 19th century; stylistic changes in rock art are an outgrowth of that philosophical method. Art and the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe: Comments on the archaeological arguments for an early Upper Paleolithic antiquity of the Grotte Chauvet art. Sauvet G, Layton R, Lenssen-Erz T, Taçon P, and Wlodarczyk A. Thinking with Animals in Upper Palaeolithic Rock Art.
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