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A question of style: reconsidering the stylistic approach to dating Palaeolithic parietal art in France

  • Genevieve von Petzinger (a1) and April Nowell (a1)

The authors deconstruct the basis for dating the Palaeolithic cave paintings of France and find it wanting. Only five per cent are directly dated and the remainder belong to a stylistic framework that has grown organically, and with much circularity, as new paintings were brought to light. Following a constructive bouleversement, the authors recommend a new chronometric foundation based on chains of evidence anchored by radiocarbon dates. The story so far is striking: it brings many of the themes and techniques thought typical of the later painters into the repertoire of their much earlier predecessors.

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H. Valladas , H. Cachier , P. Maurice , F. Bernaldo De Quirós , J. Clottes , V. Cabrera , P. Uzquiano & M. Arnold . 1992. Direct radiocarbon dates for prehistoric paintings at the Altamira, El Castillo and Niaux caves. Nature 357: 6870.

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