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CALCIUM OXALATE RADIOCARBON DATING: PRELIMINARY TESTS TO DATE ROCK ART OF THE DECORATED OPEN-AIR CAVES, ERONGO MOUNTAINS, NAMIBIA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2020

Jean-Pascal Dumoulin*
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Matthieu Lebon
Affiliation:
Histoire Naturelle de l’Homme Préhistorique (HNHP), UMR 7194, Muséum, National d’Histoire Naturelle, CNRS, Université Perpignan Via Domitia, Alliance Sorbonne Université, Musée de l’Homme, 17 Place du Trocadéro, 75116 Paris, France
Ingrid Caffy
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Guilhem Mauran
Affiliation:
Histoire Naturelle de l’Homme Préhistorique (HNHP), UMR 7194, Muséum, National d’Histoire Naturelle, CNRS, Université Perpignan Via Domitia, Alliance Sorbonne Université, Musée de l’Homme, 17 Place du Trocadéro, 75116 Paris, France
Alma Nankela
Affiliation:
Archaeology Unit, National, Heritage Council of Namibia, 153 Dr. AB May & Rev. Michael Scott Streets, Ausspannplatz, Windhoek, Namibia
David Pleurdeau
Affiliation:
Histoire Naturelle de l’Homme Préhistorique (HNHP), UMR 7194, Muséum, National d’Histoire Naturelle, CNRS, Université Perpignan Via Domitia, Alliance Sorbonne Université, Musée de l’Homme, 17 Place du Trocadéro, 75116 Paris, France
Emmanuelle Delqué-Količ
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Christophe Moreau
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Marion Perron
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Marc Sieudat
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Bruno Thellier
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Lucile Beck
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Mesure du Carbone 14 (LMC14), LSCE/IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, F-91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
*
*Corresponding author. Email: Jean-Pascal.Dumoulin@lsce.ipsl.fr.

Abstract

The direct dating of rock paintings is not always possible due to the lack of organic carbon compounds in pigments, or because sampling from a heritage site is often restricted. To overcome these limitations, dating laboratories have to develop new approaches. In this study, we consider sampling calcium oxalate crusts covering the painted artworks as a way to indirectly date the rock art. This stratigraphic approach includes isolating and extracting pure oxalate from the crusts. The approach was tested on natural bulk accretions collected in the open-air sites of Erongo Mountains in Namibia. The accretions were separated into two phases (pure oxalate and the remaining residues) with a special pretreatment. This process removes carbonates through acidification (HCl 6N) and dissolves the oxalate into the supernatant, leaving the minerals and windblown organic compounds in the residue. The efficiency of the separation was checked on the two phases by FTIR analyses and by 14C dating and showed that pure oxalate powders were indeed obtained. AMS radiocarbon results of various accretions on the same art panels provided ages from modern periods to 2410 ± 35 BP. From these first results, more targeted sampling campaigns can be considered to provide a terminus ante quem for the rock art.

Type
Conference Paper
Copyright
© 2020 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona

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Footnotes

Selected Papers from the 9th Radiocarbon & Archaeology Symposium, Athens, GA, USA, 20–24 May 2019

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CALCIUM OXALATE RADIOCARBON DATING: PRELIMINARY TESTS TO DATE ROCK ART OF THE DECORATED OPEN-AIR CAVES, ERONGO MOUNTAINS, NAMIBIA
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