12,000 year old Aboriginal rock art from the Kimberley region, Western Australia

Damien Finch, Andrew Gleadow, Janet Hergt, Vladimir Levchenko, Pauline Heaney, Peter Veth, Sam Harper, Sven Ouzman, Cecilia Myers, Helen Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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The Kimberley region in Western Australia hosts one of the world’s most substantial bodies of indigenous rock art thought to extend in a series of stylistic or iconographic phases from the present day back into the Pleistocene. As with other rock art worldwide, the older styles have proven notoriously difficult to date quantitatively, requiring new scientific approaches. Here, we present the radiocarbon ages of 24 mud wasp nests that were either over or
under pigment from 21 anthropomorphic motifs of the Gwion style (previously referred to as “Bradshaws”) from the middle of the relative stylistic sequence. We demonstrate that while one date suggests a minimum age of c. 17 ka for one motif, most of the dates support a hypothesis that these Gwion paintings were produced in a relatively narrow period around 12,000 years ago.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaay3922
Number of pages9
JournalScience Advances
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


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