The earliest directly dated rock paintings from southern Africa: new AMS radiocarbon dates

Bonneau, A., Pearce, D., Mitchell, P., Staff, R. , Arthur, C., Mallen, L., Brock, F. and Higham, T. (2017) The earliest directly dated rock paintings from southern Africa: new AMS radiocarbon dates. Antiquity, 91(356), pp. 322-333. (doi:10.15184/aqy.2016.271)

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Abstract

Rock art worldwide has proved extremely difficult to date directly. Here, the first radiocarbon dates for rock paintings in Botswana and Lesotho are presented, along with additional dates for Later Stone Age rock art in South Africa. The samples selected for dating were identified as carbon-blacks from short-lived organic materials, meaning that the sampled pigments and the paintings that they were used to produce must be of similar age. The results reveal that southern African hunter-gatherers were creating paintings on rockshelter walls as long ago as 5723–4420 cal BP in south-eastern Botswana: the oldest such evidence yet found in southern Africa.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Staff, Dr Richard
Authors: Bonneau, A., Pearce, D., Mitchell, P., Staff, R., Arthur, C., Mallen, L., Brock, F., and Higham, T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Antiquity
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0003-598X
ISSN (Online):1745-1744
Published Online:04 April 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 Antiquity Publications Ltd.
First Published:First published in Antiquity 91(356): 322-333
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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