Successfully dating rock art in Southern Africa using improved sampling methods and new characterization and pretreatment protocols

Bonneau, A., Staff, R.A. , Higham, T., Brock, F., Pearce, D.G. and Mitchell, P.J. (2017) Successfully dating rock art in Southern Africa using improved sampling methods and new characterization and pretreatment protocols. Radiocarbon, 59(3), pp. 659-677. (doi:10.1017/RDC.2016.69)

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Abstract

Worldwide, dating rock art is difficult to achieve because of the frequent lack of datable material and the difficulty of removing contamination from samples. Our research aimed to select the paints that would be the most likely to be successfully radiocarbon dated and to estimate the quantity of paint needed depending on the nature of the paint and the weathering and alteration products associated with it. To achieve this aim, a two-step sampling strategy, coupled with a multi-instrument characterization (including SEM-EDS, Raman spectroscopy, and FTIR spectroscopy analysis) and a modified acid-base-acid (ABA) pretreatment, was created. In total, 41 samples were dated from 14 sites in three separate regions of southern Africa. These novel protocols ensure that the 14C chronology produced was robust and could also be subsequently applied to different regions with possible variations in paint preparation, geology, weathering conditions, and contaminants.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Staff, Dr Richard
Authors: Bonneau, A., Staff, R.A., Higham, T., Brock, F., Pearce, D.G., and Mitchell, P.J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Radiocarbon
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0033-8222
ISSN (Online):1945-5755
Published Online:09 September 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona
First Published:First published in Radiocarbon 59(3): 659-677
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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