The age of Australian rock art: A review

01st December 2010

Langley&Tacon SR AA71 Figure1Michelle C. Langley and Paul S.C. Taçon

The growing corpus of ‘direct dates’ for rock art around the world has changed the way researchers understand rock art. ‘Direct dating’ refers to methods for obtaining chronometric ages through the dating of material directly associated with motifs, thus providing minimum, maximum or actual ages. Materials associated with rock art that may be directly dated include the original media (e.g. beeswax), organic binders found in pigment, or natural coatings (e.g. wasp nests) which can either provide a terminus ante quem or terminus post quem for art. In Australia, 432 direct dates for rock art are now available, providing the basis for developing absolute chronologies for rock art regions and specific periods within them. In this paper we review the dating results but caution against using them to derive broad interpretations, especially continent-wide narratives and global comparisons.

Image caption: Location of sites included in the analysis (published in Australian Archaeology 71:70).
Michelle C. Langley and Paul S.C. Taçon
The age of Australian rock art: A review
Dec 2010
Short Report
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