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Those findings, along with an analysis of sediment core sampled nearby, suggest the petroglyph-decorated rocks were exposed first between 14,800 and 13,200 years ago and again between about 11,300 and 10,500 years ago."Prior to our study, archaeologists had suggested these petroglyphs were extremely old," Benson said in a statement.
"Whether they turn out to be as old as 14,800 years ago or as recent as 10,500 years ago, they are still the oldest petroglyphs that have been dated in North America."Researchers previously believed the oldest rock art in North America could be found at Long Lake, Ore., in carvings that were created at least 6,700 years ago, before being covered in ash from the Mount Mazama volcanic eruption.
A new technique, developed at ANSTO’s Centre for Accelerator Science, has made it possible to produce some of the first reliable radiocarbon dates for Australian rock art in a study just published online in The approach involved extracting calcium oxalate from a mineral crust growing on the surface of rock art from sites in western Arnhem Land, according to paper co-author research scientist Dr Vladimir Levchenko, an authority on radiocarbon dating using accelerator mass spectrometry.
Levchenko, who supervised the radiocarbon dating, collaborated with lead author of the paper, Ms Tristen Jones, a Ph D candidate at the Australian National University (ANU) and co-authors from ANU.
"But I think they are absolutely beautiful symbols.
Some look like multiple connected sets of diamonds, and some look like trees, or veins in a leaf.
The bighorn sheep carved into an orange-brown sandstone, shown near the top of this page, is a petroglyph.On the west side of Nevada's dried-up Winnemucca Lake, there are several limestone boulders with deep, ancient carvings; some resemble trees and leaves, whereas others are more abstract designs that look like ovals or diamonds in a chain.The true age of this rock art had not been known, but a new analysis suggests these petroglyphs are the oldest North America, dating back to between 10,500 and 14,800 years ago.“Indigenous Australian rock art is very interesting, it is believed to be among the most ancient in the world but it is one of the least dated,” said Levchenko.The research had the full support of the local Manilakarr Clan estate in western Arnhem Land and is the result of a long term collaboration with Ms Jones and other ANU collaborators with the Njanjma Rangers and the Djabulukgu Association.