Dating rock art usa
Another way that precise dating can be achieved is if the artist records the actual date of his or her creation, the name of a leader of known reign, or a distinctive historical event, like the inscription shown in the previous chapter about King Yousif Assar Yathar’s invasion of the Najran region in 518 CE.Then, however, it must be clear that the artist is referring to his or her own time, and not providing historical commentary.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.
The samples that contained the most carbon-black (and thus most likely to reveal dates) were then radiocarbon dated.
, Professor David Pearce, Director of the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Adelphine Bonneau of Laval University, and colleagues at the University of Oxford showed that paintings in south-eastern Botswana are at least 5500 years old, whilst paintings in Lesotho and the Eastern Cape Drakensberg, South Africa, date as far back as 3000 years.
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.
New chemical techniques were developed to remove contaminants from small samples of paint.
These could then be dated using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating.