Pigment geochemistry as chronological marker: The case of lead pigment in rock art in the Urrmarning ‘Red Lily Lagoon’ rock art precinct, western Arnhem Land

Daryl Wesley, Tristen Jones, Christian Reepmeyer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper presents selected results of an experimental study using portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) for the non-destructive analysis of rock art pigments in northern Australia. During two weeks of fieldwork in the dry season of 2011 at the Red Lily Lagoon area in western Arnhem Land, 32 rock art motifs in four rockshelter sites were analysed. A total of 640 analyses were undertaken, including of white, red, black, yellow and blue pigments from both early and contact art motifs. This paper discusses the geochemical analysis of one particular motif painted with black pigment. It was determined that processed metal lead was the most likely pigment base. Contrary to previous stylistic analysis that suggested the motif had an old age, our analysis suggests that the motif was painted within the last 200-300 years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalAustralian Archaeology
    Volume78
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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