Dating of rock art in southern africa

Radio-carbon and thermoluminescence dating provides an estimate of when these rocks were buried, although this does not tell us how old the images were before burial.A painted tablet was discovered in two pieces in the Huns Mountains of southwestern Namibia in an archaeological layer dated to between 26,300 and 28,400 B. The discovery occured during the flight of Apollo 11, and the shelter where it was found now bears that name.

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The Apollo 11 stones were thought to be the oldest known artwork of any kind from the African continent.

But in 2002, news of an important discovery in Blombos Cave on the southern Cape coast was made; Chris Henshilwood announced the uncovering of a piece of ochre decorated with a delicate geometric pattern.

He dated the piece conservatively at 77,000 years old; in fact, it could be as much as 100,000 years old.

This continent was the birthplace of modern man and woman.

By the time of the first single successful exodus 85,000 years ago, we were dancing, singing and painting.

Evidence of the earliest rock art is notoriously difficult to confirm, but its tradition is not - from desert to rainforest to savanna, we see a vast display of spectacular rock art, both paintings and engravings, depicting a staggering array of subjects.

Many of these, not all by any means, are presented here in the Bradshaw Foundation Africa section, one of the largest online collections of ancient African rock art in the world, brought to you in collaboration with the leading African authorities on cave paintings and petroglyph carvings.

As more rock art is discovered, and dating techniques become more sophisticated, greater light is shed on the thoughts, beliefs, joys and fears of our African ancestors.

The dating of the earliest rock paintings and engravings in Africa is uncertain.

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