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Dating of rock art in southern america

dating of rock art in southern america-76

The peopling of the Americas is both the oldest and most frequently researched question in American archaeology.

San also used rock art to record things that happened in their lives.And this Later Stone Age Bushmen artwork has influenced rock art study around the globe.The rock art in questions is located at 14 sites in three different regions of Southern Africa: the Thune Dam, Botswana, the Phuthiatsana Valley, Lesotho and the Maclear District in South Africa.Archaeologists had tried, in vain, to reattach them to the cave art images.When that didn't work, Pearce decided to use the fragments to date the rock art.The team used a technique known as accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating, which is similar to traditional radiocarbon data, but analyzes smaller fragments instead of the complete artifact.

By collecting samples of paint, researchers were able to identify the types of carbons in the pigments and ultimately date them as more than 5,000 years old – deeming the drawings the ‘earliest directly dated’ paintings in the region‘Research over the past 40 years has shown that the art is most productively and comprehensively explained as the material expression of the powers of ritual specialists (shamans) and of the wider cosmology within which those powers were exercised, often in altered states of consciousness,' reads the study publish in the Journal Antiquity.

For years, experts have known the meanings behind the ancient images, but have been unable to determine when they were created.

Researchers used a method called accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) to carry out the first direct dating of ancient rock art in Southern Africa.

The Southern region of Africa is known for its rich and detailed collection of rock art left by ancient hunters and gathers, but as much as these creations are well-understood, their exact dates are not.

By collecting samples of paint, researchers were able to identify the types of carbons in the pigments and ultimately date them as more than 5,000 years old – deeming the drawings the ‘earliest directly dated’ paintings in the region.

Several other images of animals are depicted there too, along with the flesh blood-red handprints that are the signature of the unknown artist.