most cave paintings are datable due to organic compounds being used for paint, charred materials[...]etc.
Dating organic compounds found in the paint in cave paintings does not date the paintings, it dates the paint
. Tribal/shamanic rock art is
periodically 'refurbished' in order to keep it alive and vivid(no doubt there are esoteric reasons as well). The implication that dating the paint
in rock art tells us anything except for when it received its most recent touch up seems, to me, to be absurd.
For ex., iron oxide--i.e. rust--stains rock quite well and delivers a bold orange-red, which stands out very well on a limestone wall.
Let's say a catastrophe hits and I am one of the few survivors worldwide(worst luck). After a certain amount of adventure and hardship(say enough for
a Tolkien trilogy), I decide it's time to settle down. What use adventuring(ask I), risking my life and saving the world, when the world--relatively
speaking--has already been destroyed and there's nothing to save? No use at all(says I). So, I find a good cave on a hillside near the ocean, then
spend a year or so making the place home--water catchment, sanitation, smokehouse and weir, scouting game trails, etc..
Then I get bored. I spend a lot of long nights attempting to design and construct various apparatus for the alchemical distillation of spirits, on the
theory that occasionally imbibing such a potion may help bolster my sinking ones. One night, having forced down a respectable amount of SPP-42t(Spirit
Potion Project, attempt #42, test batch) and waiting for my spirits to raise or my liver to quit, my eye happens on the faint markings I made on a
small portion of cavern wall when working out some equipment-related issues during SPP-7. I drew the diagrams using my index finger, which I dipped in
the layer of rust on a cast-iron stove door I had found. Looking at those markings and that expanse of cavern wall make me remember the days back
before the world ended(O, Discordia!) when I used to get in debates on ATS over whether or not the world was gonna end, or whether there was any real
archaeological evidence that there had been an advanced civ previous to ours, and whether it was all just being covered up.
I decide that there probably was evidence that had been covered up, and furthermore, should the human race somehow survive and rebuild, it would
happen again. It would be engendered and propagated by the kinds of people who think that whatever a place looks like when they first see it is How
its Supposed to Be
, because they think the world is a static system, even if they live 2k ft. above sea level in a hilly place where the bedrock
is full of marine fossils. Such people seem to have a predictable progression of motivations behind their actions regarding new, radical but genuine
discoveries. First, they treat them with open contempt because they are 100% sure such things cannot be true. They go on record as saying so, thus
publicly staking their reputation on the discovery being found to be false in one way or another...thereby practically guaranteeing that they will
fight tooth and nail against any advancement of said discovery toward becoming accepted theory.
In other words, trolls. Unless none of the people who both survive the cataclysm and subsequently have children are carriers of the Troll gene, Trolls
will continue to manifest within the human race, and they will Troll archaeology when it comes 'round again.
I decide I'll get the jump on those trolling bastards by trolling them first from way back here in (their) ancient past. I grab the cast-iron door
with its excellent coating of rust, dip my fingers, and go right to work making a series of fantastical images on the cavern wall, having completely
forgotten about SPP-42t, mainly because at this point I'm seriously drunk.
Over the next couple of days, I work on Project Troll the Future(PTF) while working off my hangover from SPP-42. Then, during one of my frequent 15
min. breaks(union rules) I was standing outside wishing I had a cigarette when I saw a girl dart across an open area on the hillside across from me,
looking like she was fleeing something. I grabbed my kit and went after her, having decided maybe there was something left worth saving after all.
20,000 years later, a Troll stands before the cavern wall which is now rich in colors, saying the cave had been visited periodically by tribal shamans
for rituals and to touch up the pictographs, which depicted the fundamental roots of their religion.
"The creator god RA, with a fog of weariness round his head from his previous failed attempts at creation, finally manages to make the world, shown
here as a large stone ball with crystals of divinity growing from it in various places. Tol, the Deceiver, becomes angry when he sees this and
demolishes the crystals, plunging the world into darkness. Organics in the pigments date to 800BP. It's quite remarkable."