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An alternative chronology for the art of Chauvet cave

  • Paul Pettitt (a1) and Paul Bahn (a2)

It is now 20 years since the discovery of the Grotte Chauvet with its impressive cave art, but controversy continues over the antiquity of the images. Radiocarbon assays have been used to argue that the ‘black series’ charcoal drawings date to the Aurignacian period, more than 20 000 years earlier than traditional stylistic models would suggest. This paper questions the validity of the radiometric dating and cautions against reliance solely on the date of the charcoal. Instead, the authors propose an alternative chronology for the art of Chauvet based on stylistic comparanda, palaeontological remains and stratigraphic evidence.

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C. Bon , V. Berthonaud , P. Fosse , B. Gély , F. Maksud , R. Vitalis , M. Philippe , J. van der Plicht & J.-M. Elalouf . 2011. Low regional diversity of late cave bears mitochondrial DNA at the time of the Chauvet Aurignacian paintings. Journal of Archaeological Science 38, 1886–95.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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