Perspectives and potentials for absolute dating prehistoric rock paintings

Alan Watchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Absolute dating of prehistoric rock paintings is an exciting archaeological pursuit. Sophisticated sample collection, handling and pretreatment methods and new analytical equipment and techniques are minimizing contamination and permitting identification of trace amounts of organic substances in prehistoric paints. Radiocarbon dating using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is producing dates for minute residues of blood, charcoal and plant fibres, either accidentally or deliberately incorporated in paintings. Carbon-bearing laminations, such as oxalate-crusts and silica skins, which have accumulated under and over rock art, have also been recently dated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
Issue number254
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1993
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Perspectives and potentials for absolute dating prehistoric rock paintings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this