A rare finding: Australian researchers have accurately dated the representation of kangaroos to an age of about 17,300 years. It is thus the oldest known rock art in Australia that has been preserved where it was attached. The painting was placed on the ceiling of a tumbling rock in the Aungango clan territory in the country of Palangara, in the Kimberley region in northern Western Australia. In this area, the team of Damien Finch and Andrew Glido of the University of Melbourne, along with Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, examined 15 more representations. The researchers’ coincidence helped determine age using the radiocarbon method: as they did in the specialist journal The nature of human behavior According to the report, they were able to date the images using the earthen nests of the digging wasps that lie above and below the panels.
The oldest rock art of kangaroos is about two meters long. The animal is painted dark red, and the fur is indicated by lines. In addition to this marsupial, the researchers also took samples from other representations. Most of them correspond to the drawing style of the so-called irregular animal stage. The subjects of that era are life-size, naturally occurring animals. For a long time it was difficult to accurately date this early style of Aboriginal art. Before archaeologists could use scientific methods, the age of rock art could only be determined roughly or through the context of discovery. In the case of Australian rock art, the attachment of motifs also provides clues: because hanging rocks have been painted over and over again for thousands of years, the images overlap and overlap – and thus can be entered in relatively chronological order. That is, the smaller panels cover the old specimens.
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