Dating prehistoric paintings allison stokke dating
Since the Chauvet art was discovered in 1994, many researchers have seen it as evidence that modern humans arrived in Europe from Africa ready, willing, and able to create sophisticated paintings that rival those of much later caves, such as Lascaux in southern France.
The team argues that the new dating, along with similar dates from sites such as Abri Castanet in France, where archaeologists recently dated depictions of female genitalia to at least 37,000 years ago, suggests that the earliest European artists "were less concerned with animal depictions" and more interested in simpler motifs such as "red dots, disks, lines, and hand stencils," as they put it in the paper.
And a few researchers say that the study argues for the slow development of artistic skill over tens of thousands of years.
Figuring out the age of cave art is fraught with difficulties.
By measuring the ratio of thorium-230 and uranium-238, daters can estimate how long ago the calcite was laid down.
Using a blade or an electric drill, the team took 50 small samples from calcite that directly overlay either paintings or engravings in 11 caves in northwest Spain.
But he still thinks it most likely that modern humans made the art, because the dates still correspond most closely to the time when was first entering Europe.
The Pike team has not taken into account several potential problems with U-series dating, adds Helene Valladas of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, who led the dating at Chauvet.