Carbon dating cave paintings
Advances in radiocarbon dating by accelerator mass spectrometry now make it possible to date prehistoric cave paintings by sampling the pigment itself instead of relying on dates derived from miscellaneous prehistoric remains recovered in the vicinity of the paintings.
Could it be that the whole scientific community has missed this point, or is it another case of creationist daydreaming?We stick the garden hose in and turn it on full blast.The water coming out of the hose is analogous to the continuous production of carbon-14 atoms in the upper atmosphere.The cave paintings were assumed to be prehistoric, but relatively "young," perhaps created by the region's first farmers a few thousand years ago or hunter-gatherers around 8,000 years ago at the earliest, Aubert told Live Science in an email.But scientists had never tried to date the artworks before.Stylistically, some of the paintings resemble those found in Europe.
There are hand stencils that would have been created as a person spit or sprayed red pigment over his or her hand to leave the outline of a handprint.
It is one of seventeen such caves unearthed along the mountains of North Spain near the Atlantic coast, on the main migratory route from the Middle East, which followed the North African coast, crossed the sea at Gibraltar and led through Spain into France.
Other important Cantabrian sites of Ice Age cave art include the El Castillo Cave (c.39,000 BCE), and the Pasiega Cave (c.16,000 BCE), as well as La Pileta Cave (18,000 BCE) (Malaga) and Tito Bustillo Cave (14,000 BCE) (Asturias).
First discovered in 1868, though not fully appreciated until the 1900s, Altamira was the first of the great caches of prehistoric art to be discovered, and despite other exciting finds in Cantabria and southern France, Altamira's paintings of bisons and other wild mammals are still the most vividly coloured and visually powerful examples of Paleolithic art and culture to be found on the continent of Europe.
As usual, archeologists remain undecided about when Altamira's parietal art was first created.
The paintings — some of which might be more than 40,000 years old — challenge Europe's standing as the birthplace of prehistoric art."It was previously thought that Western Europe was the centerpiece of a 'symbolic explosion' in early human artistic activity, such as cave painting and other forms of image making, including figurative art, around 40,000 years ago," said study leader Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist and geochemist at Australia's Griffith University.