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18-Mar-2016 02:01

"You often hear people talk about the oldest continuous culture in the world being Aboriginal culture," says geologist Professor Brad Pillans of the Australian National University.

"Many archaeologists have thought rock art has been a part of Aboriginal culture since earliest times...

A new technique for dating cave art pushes the earliest works back to at least 41,000 years ago and raises the possibility that Neandertals were responsible for some of it.

Pedro Saura; (bottom left) Rodrigo De Balbin Behrmann The basic questions about early European cave art—who made it and whether they developed artistic talent swiftly or slowly—were thought by many researchers to have been settled long ago: Modern humans made the paintings, crafting brilliant artworks almost as soon as they entered Europe from Africa.

Create fake pottery that will pass the thermoluminescence test One way to pass a fake through a TL test is to expose the newly-made pottery to a high dose of artificial radiation sources, thus fooling the measurement instruments.

However, producing fakes with this method calls for expertise on the subject, as well as expensive instruments.

Cave art in Spain is changing the way evolutionary anthropologists see Neanderthals and early modern humans.

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What are the different methods used to date such artworks?

Unfortunately there are no affordable direct methods for dating pigments, except in some cases as we will see later.