Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Oceanic rock art: first direct dating of prehistoric stencils and paintings from New Caledonia (Southern Melanesia)

  • Christophe Sand (a1), Hélène Valladas (a2), Hélène Cachier (a2), Nadine Tisnérat-Laborde (a2), Maurice Arnold (a3), Jacques Bolé (a1) and André Ouetcho (a1)...
Extract

Rock art in an inland cave on the island of Lifou, New Caledonia, has been radiocarbon dated. A cluster of early paintings date to 2500 years ago, soon after the arrival of the first settlers, who must have quickly gone inland probably in pursuit of fresh water, available near the cave. They left their mark on the cave in the form of numerous hand stencils. During the first millennium AD, later generations of artists used the same cave, drawing birds and a circular sign for water still recognised by the present community.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Anderson, A., Bedford, S., Clark, G., Lilley, I., Sand, C., Summerhayes, G. & Torrence, R.. 2001. An inventory of Lapita sites containing dentatestamped pottery, in Clark, G., Sorovi-Vunidilo, T. & Anderson, A. (ed.) The archaeology of Lapita dispersal in Oceania: 113. Canberra: Terra Australis 17.
Arnold, M., Bard, E., Maurice, P. & Duplessy, J. C.. 1987. 14C dating with the Gif-sur-Yvette Tandetron accelerator: status report. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B29: 120–3.
Ballard, C. 1992. Painted rock art sites in Western Melanesia: Locational evidence for an ‘Austronesian’ painting tradition, in Mc Donald, J. & Haskovec, I. (ed.) State of the art: regional rock art studies in Australia and Melanesia: 94106. Melbourne: Occasional AURA Publications 6, Australian Rock Art Association.
Kirch, P. V. 1997. The Lapita Peoples: ancestors of the Oceanic world. Cambridge (MA): Blackwell.
Kirch, P. V. 2000. On the Roads of the Winds: an archaeological history of the Pacific Islands before European contact. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Monnin, J. & Sand, C.. 2004. Kibo, le serment gravé. Essai de synthèse sur les pétroglyphes calédoniens. Nouméa: Les Cahiers de l'Archéologie en Nouvelle-Calédonie 16.
Sand, C. 1995. “Le temps d'avant”. La préhistoire de la Nouvelle-Calédonie. Paris: L'Harmattan.
Sand, C. 1998. Recent Archaeological Research in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia. Asian Perspectives 37 (2): 194223.
Sand, C., Bolé, J., Ouetcho, A. & Batick, J. P.. 1998. La grotte ornée de Fetra-Hé à Wanaham (District de Wetr, Lifou): étude d'un site souterrain auxîles Loyauté. Nouméa: Département d'Archéologie du Service des Musées et du Patrimoine.
Sand, C., Bolé, J. & Ouetcho, A.. 2003. Prehistory and its perception in a Melanesian Archipelago: the New Caledonia example. Antiquity 77: 505–19.
Sand, C. & Kirch, P. V.. 2002. L'expédition archéologique d'Edward W. Gifford et Richard Shutler Jr. en Nouvelle-Calédonie au cours de l'année 1952. Edward W. Gifford and Richard Shutler Jr's Archaeological Expedition to New Caledonia in 1952. Nouméa: Les Cahiers de l'Archéologie en Nouvelle-Calédonie 13.
Specht, J. 1979. Rock art in the western Pacific, in Mead, S. (ed.) Exploring the visual art in Oceania: 5882. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii.
Spriggs, M. 1997. The Island Melanesians. Cambridge (MA): Blackwell.
Stuiver, M., Reimer, P.J., Bard, E., Beck, J.W., Burr, G.S., Hughen, K.A., Kromer, B., McCormac, F.G., Plicht, J.v.d. & Spurk, M.. 1998. Intcal98 Radiocarbon age calibration, 24,000-0 Cal BP. Radiocarbon 40: 1041–83.
Thomas, C., Thomas, Y., Brunet, P., Lips, B. & Lips, J.. 1996. Expédition en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Lifou 1995. Unpublished Field Report.
Valladas, H., Cachier, H., Maurice, P., Bernaldo De Quiros, F., Clottes, J., Cabrera Valdes, V., Uzquiano, P. & Arnold, M.. 1992. Direct radiocarbon dates for prehistoric paintings at the Altamira, El Castillo and Niaux caves. Nature 357: 6870.
Valladas, H., Tisnerat-Laborde, N., Cachier, H. & Arnold, M.. 1999. Datation directe des peintures préhistorique par la methode du carbon 14 en spectrometrie de masse par accélérateur. Revue Archéométrie Supplement 1999: 3944.
Valladas, H., Tisnerat-Laborde, N., Cachier, H., Arnold, M., Bernaldo De Quiros, F., Cabrera-Valdes, V., Clottes, J., Courtin, J., Fortea-Perez, J., Gonzales-Sainz, C. & Moure-Romanillo, A.. 2001. Radiocarbon AMS dates for Paleolithic cave paintings. Radiocarbon 43: 977–86.
Wilson, M. 2002. Picturing Pacific Prehistory. The rock-art of Vanuatu in a western Pacific context. Unpublished PhD thesis, The Australian National University.
Wilson, M. 2003. Rock-art transformations in the western Pacific, in Sand, C. (ed.) Pacific Archaeology: assessments and prospects: 265–84. Nouméa: Les Cahiers de l'Archéologie en Nouvelle-Calédonie 15.
Recommend this journal

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

Antiquity
  • 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? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

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