Skip to main content Accessibility help

Accelerator radiocarbon dating of plant-fibre binders in rock paintings from northeastern Australia

  • Alan Watchman (a1) and Noelene Cole (a2)

During the late Holocene, Aboriginal rock painters in north Queensland selected and combined various natural inorganic and organic materials in paint recipes – possibly to increase the longevity of their paintings. The organic materials make direct radiocarbon dating possible.

Hide All
Ambrose, W.R. & Mummery, J.M.J, (ed.). 1987. Archaeometry, further Australasian studies. Canberra: Department of Prehistory, Research Scliool of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.
Biesele, M. 1974. A contemporary Bushman’s comments on the Brandberg paintings, Newsletter South West Africa Scientific Society 15 (7): 39.
Campbell, J.B. & Mardaga-CAMPBELL, M. In press. From micro– to nano–stratigraphy: linking, vertical and horizontal dating of archaeological deposits with the direct dating of rock art at ‘;The Walkunders’, Chillagoe (North Queensland, Australia), in Steinbring&Watchman (ed.)
Cole, N.A. 1988. The rock art of Jowalbinna. BA (Hons.) thesis. James Cook Townsville. University of North Queensland,
Cole, N. & David, B. 1992. ‘Curious drawings’ at Cape York Peninsula: an account of the rock art of the Cape York Peninsula region of northeastern Australia and an overview of some regional characteristics Rock Art Research 9 (2): 326.
Cole, N. & Watchman, A. 1992. Paintings with plants: investigating Aboriginal use of plant materials in rock paintings at Laura, Rock Art Research 9 (1): 2736.
Conard, N.J., Breunig, P. Gonska, H. & Marinetti, G. 1988. The feasibility of dating rock paintings from Brandberg, Namibia,14C, Journal of Archaeological Science 15: 463–6.
Dewdney, S. & Kidd, K.E. 1967. Indian rock paintings of the Great Lakes. 2nd edition.Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Fankhauser, B.L. & Bird, J.R. (ed.). In press. 1967. Archaeometry: current Australian Research.Canberra: Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.Occasional Paper in Prehistory 22.
Flood, J.M. 1987. Rock art of the Koolburra Plateau, north Queensland, Rock Art Research 4: 91–126.
Flood, J.M. & Horsfall, N. 1986. Excavation of Green Ant and Echidna Shelters, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland Archaeological Research 3: 464.
Grant, C. 1967. Rock art of the American Indian.New York (NY): Promontory.
Loy, T.H., Jones, R. Nelson, D.E. Meehan, B. Vogel, J. Southon, R. & Cosgrove, R. 1990. Accelerator radiocarbon dating of human blood proteins in pigments from Late Pleistocene art sites in Australia, Antiquity 64: 110–16.
Mcdonald, J., Officer, K. Jull, T. Donahue, D. Head, J. & Ford, B. 1990. Investigating 14C AMS: dating prehistoric rock art in the Sydney sandstone basin, Australia, Rock Art Research 7: 8392.
Mountford, C.P. 1956. Records of the American–Australian Expedition to Amhem Land, 1948 1: Art, myth and symbolism of Arnhem Land. Melbourne: Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, Melbourne University Press.
Nelson, D.E., Chippendale, C. Chaloupka, G. & Southon, J. 1992. AMS dating: possibilities, problems and some results. Abstract, Dating of Rock Art Symposium, Australian Rock Art Research Association, 2nd Congress, Cairns, September 1992.
Pepe, C, Clottes, J. Menu, M. & Walter, P. 1991. Le liant des peintures paléolithiques ariége–oises, Compte Rendu Académie Sciences Paris (Préhistoire) 312: 929–34.
Rosenfeld, A., Horton, D. & Winter, J. 1981. Early man in north Queensland: art and archaeology in the Laura area. Canberra: Australian National University.Terra Australis 6.
Roth, W.E. 1904. Domestic implements, arts and manufactures. Brisbane: Government Printer. North Queensland Ethnography Bulletin 7.
Rudner, I 1982. Khoisan pigments and paints and their relationship to rock paintings, Annals of the South African Museum 87: 1–281.
Russ, J., Hyman, M. Shafer, H.J. & Rowe, M.W. 1990. Radiocarbon dating of prehistoric rock paintings by selective oxidation of organic carbon, Nature, 348: 710–11.
Severin, T. 1972. Vanishing primitive man.London: Thames&Hudson.
Slota, P.J., Jull, AJ.T. Linick, T.W. & Toolin, L.J. 1990. Preparation of small samples for 14C accelerator targets by catalytic reduction of CO, Radiocarbon 29: 303–6.
Steinbring, J. & Watchman, A. (ed.). In press.1988 The dating of rock art (Proceedings of Symposium F, Second AURA Congress, Cairns, 1992).
Trezise, P.J. 1971 Quinkan country Sydney: Reed.
Valladas, H., Cachier, H. & Arnold, H. 1990 AMS-C14 dates for the prehistoric Cougnac cave paintings and related bone remains Rock Art Research 7 (1): 1819.
Valladas, H., et al. 1992 Direct radiocarbon dates for prehistoric paintings at the Altamira, El Castillo and Niaux caves,Nature 357: 6870.
Wainwright, I.N.M., 1985 Rock art conservation research in Canada, Bulletin del Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici 22: 1546.
Watchman, A., 1987 Preliminary determinations of the age and composition of mineral salts on rock art surfaces in the Kakadu National Park in Ambrose & Mummery 1987: 3642.
Watchman, A., 1992 Composition, formation and age of some Australian silica skins Australian Aboriginal Studies 92 (1): 61–6.
In preparation. Evidence of a 25,000-year old northern Australian hematitie rock painting.
Watchman, A., Sirois, J. & Cole, N. In press. Mineralogical examination of Aboriginal rock-painting pigments near Laura north Queensland in Fankhauser & Bird (in press).
Weisbrod, R., 1978 Rock art dating methods Journal of New World Archaeology 2 (4): 18.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed