Dating methods in archeology
Dating methods in archeology - woodbine and dating with a cause
Although direct dating is the most reliable, stylistic dating is the most often used, because direct dating destroys some part of painting and the other methods are only possible in rare occurrences.Stylistic changes in artifact types have been used as chronological markers in seriation since the late 19th century; stylistic changes in rock art are an outgrowth of that philosophical method.
Chauvet, at 31,000 years old an Aurignacian period cave, has a complex style and themes that are usually associated with much later periods.
Until Chauvet, painting styles for the Upper Paleolithic were thought to reflect a long, slow growth to complexity, with certain themes, styles and techniques assigned to the Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdelenian time segments of the UP.
According to von Petzinger and Nowell (2011 cited below), there are 142 caves in France with wall paintings dated to the UP, but only 10 have been direct-dated.
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The oldest of the lifelike paintings most familiar to fans of rock art is the truly spectacular Chauvet Cave in France, direct-dated to between 30,000-32,000 years ago.
Art in rockshelters is known to have occurred within the past 500 years in many parts of the world, and there is some argument to be made that modern graffiti is a continuation of that tradition.
Cave art, also called parietal art or cave painting, is a general term referring to the decoration of the walls of rockshelters and caves throughout the world.
The best known sites are in the Upper Paleolithic (UP)of Europe, where polychrome (multi-colored) paintings made of charcoal and ochre and other natural pigments were used to illustrate extinct animals, humans and geometric shapes some 20,000-30,000 years ago.
Cave art was once considered evidence of a "creative explosion", when the minds of ancient humans became fully developed: today, scholars believe that human progress towards behavioral modernity began in Africa and developed much more slowly.