How old is X-ray art? Minimum age determinations for early X-ray styled art from the ‘Red Lily Lagoon’ rock art precinct western Arnhem Land

Tristen Jones, Vladimir Levchenko, Daryl Wesley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    Abstract

    A central and fundamental issue in rock art research is where the art is placed in space and time (David et al. 2013). Discovering and applying new techniques to understand motif styles and their chronology will provide us with this information. Here we use a ‘cabled’ methodology (see Chippindale and Taçon 1998:93), where multiple lines of evidence are developed together, by combining absolute and relative dating techniques. Absolute radiocarbon dates are made on two different substances that have been related with relative dates derived by assessing motif superimpositions, the stylistic analysis of motifs and degrees of preservation. Combined, the absolute and relative methods provide reliable dates for the painted motifs on a rock art panel at Red Lily Lagoon Site 3 (see Figure 2.1). Radiocarbon dates were obtained for mineral accretions suspected to contain the minerals whewellite and whedellite (both are hydrated forms of calcium oxalate CaC2O4, and called hereafter ‘calcium oxalate’), and from preserved non-reactive organics contained within ancient mud wasp nest stumps. This is the first attempt to apply radiocarbon dating to these two different materials, calcium oxalate and mud wasp nests, directly associated with the same rock art.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia
    EditorsBruno David, Paul Taçon, Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Jean-Michel Geneste
    PublisherANU Press
    Chapter7
    Pages125-140
    Number of pages16
    Volume47
    ISBN (Print)9781760461614
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Publication series

    NameTerra Australis
    PublisherAustralian National University Press

    Keywords

    • rock art
    • x-ray art
    • mud wasp nest

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  • Cite this

    Jones, T., Levchenko, V., & Wesley, D. (2017). How old is X-ray art? Minimum age determinations for early X-ray styled art from the ‘Red Lily Lagoon’ rock art precinct western Arnhem Land. In B. David, P. Taçon, J-J. Delannoy, & J-M. Geneste (Eds.), The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia (Vol. 47, pp. 125-140). (Terra Australis). ANU Press. https://doi.org/10.22459/TA47.11.2017.07