Dating prehistoric paintings
A new dating method finally is allowing archaeologists to incorporate rock paintings -- some of the most mysterious and personalized remnants of ancient cultures -- into the tapestry of evidence used to study life in prehistoric times.
The ages obtained so far have shown that the art of cave painting appeared early in the Upper Palaeolithic period, much earlier than previously believed.However, there is some evidence that the preference for the aesthetic emerged in the Middle Paleolithic, from 100,000 to 50,000 years ago.Some archaeologists have interpreted certain Middle Paleolithic artifacts as early examples of artistic expression.It validates the method and allows rock painting to join bones, pottery and other artifacts that tell secrets of ancient societies, Rowe said."Because of the prior lack of methods for dating rock art, archaeologists had almost completely ignored it before the 1990s," he explained.
Many indigenous peoples from around the world continued to produce artistic works distinctive to their geographic area and culture, until exploration and commerce brought record-keeping methods to them.