posted on Jun, 15 2012 @ 10:14 AM
Using a new dating method based on the radioactive decay of naturally occurring elements, archeologists have dated some of oldest paintings ever
discovered in Spain's El Castillo cave.
The new technique takes minute measurements of material and avoids contamination which can occur with carbon dating:
the calcite deposits are scraped away, using a knife or a drill, until the pigment just begins to appear beneath it. "That does two things,"
Pike explained. "It means we stop before we damage the painting, and secondly it proves to us and our audience that these things are directly above
the art itself."
The scientists can thus be confident that the age they get will be the minimum age for the artwork.
This is what the cave art looks like:
The art in El Castillo covers a time period from 22,600 years ago to 40,800 years ago. This area may have been used by "artists" for tens of
thousands of years, with each generation adding new art.
The earlest drawing is the bison:
The hand stencils have been dated to at least 37,300 years ago while the red disks date back to 40,800 years ago.
Some archeologists are wondering if Neanderthals drew the earliest art, but modern humans were already in Spain by this time.
Personally I find this art captivating and wonderful. To see how we lived in ancient times and to get an inkling of what we were thinking about.
Does it matter to you if they were drawn by Neanderthals, us, or both?