Gorgeous 28,000 year old rock art found in Australia

Published On: Sunday, December 30, 2012 9:50 AM
By: Moses Gold
28,000 year old rock art found in Australia
An archaeologist said he found the oldest piece of rock art in Australia and one of the oldest in the world: an Aboriginal work created 28,000 years ago in a cave called Outback.

The dating of one of the thousands of images in the Northern Territory rock shelter known as Nawarla Gabarnmang will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

University of Southern Queensland archaeologist Bryce Barker said he saw the rock in June of last year, but only recently had been dated to the New Zealand University of Waikato Radiocarbon Laboratory.

He said the rock art was made with charcoal, so radiocarbon dating could be used to determine its age. Most rock art is made with mineral paint, so its age cannot be measured accurately.
"It is the oldest unequivocally art rock to date in Australia", and among the oldest in the world, said Barker.

The oldest known rock art is in Spain, where the templates of the hand and red discs made by blowing paint on the wall in the cave of El Castillo, at least 40,800 years old, according to scientists using a technique known as dating uranium-thorium.

Archaeologists at the Australian National University, Sally May, who are not involved with the
investigation of Barker, described the find as "very important".

"I do not think it will surprise no one that the rock art is as old in Australia because we know that people have been here much longer than that and there is no reason to believe that there is no art," he said.

Barker said he found evidence that the cave where he found the rock art had been occupied for 45,000 years.