“people returned to the same rock shelters over very long periods of time to make rock paintings very similar to those made centuries or millennia before.This finding has profound implications for our understanding of hunter-gatherer religion in southern Africa."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.
A new dating method finally is allowing archaeologists to incorporate rock paintings — some of the most mysterious and personalized remnants of ancient cultures — into the tapestry of evidence used to study life in prehistoric times. Rowe points out that rock paintings, or pictographs, are among the most difficult archaeological artifacts to date.The new dates were obtained using radiocarbon dating.Over the decades rock art has proved extremely difficult to directly date."These were dated using radiocarbon dating of charcoal buried at the same depth of engravings," he says.Beyond engravings, the oldest reliably-dated rock art in Australia is 28,000 years old.