Dating petroglyphs

Australian rock art, while extensive and in places of great age, is nevertheless not the oldest in the world.

Both rock art and portable palaeoart were made long before Australia was apparently first settled.

These geometric engravings of circles, tracks, cupules and other designs are thickly coated with desert varnish.

The style of these older engravings is remarkably uniform across Australia and other parts of the world.

Initial claims that these carvings were been radiocarbon dated to around 40 000 years ago have not been supported subsequently.

There has also been a recent report (June 2001) on the dating of rock carvings in the East Pilbara of Western Australia.

Probably Australia’s earliest known artistic system is the rock engravings in the Olary region of South Australia.The oldest currently known rock art is in India, at such sites as Auditorium Cave and Daraki-Chattan, but similar Acheulian rock art is believed to exist in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa.Arrival of humans in Australia Archaeological evidence suggests that humans first arrived in Australia between 65,000 and 60,000 years ago.Northern Australia is the most likely place for people to have travelled from south east Asia across the land bridges then sailed across the ocean gaps to northern Australia.Archaeologists have now discovered early occupation sites at the three most probable entry areas – the Kimberley, Arnhem Land and Cape York Peninsula.

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