Sunday, February 08, 2004

South African Rock Drawings Far Older Than Thought - 254 LexiLine Journal

There is still a lot of work to be done on chronology in archaeology.

As written by the BBC in "New light shed on SA cave art" at
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3467195.stm

"A huge collection of rock paintings in South Africa is far older
than previously thought, research has found.... Archaeologists using
the latest radio-carbon dating technology found that the Ukhahlamba-
Drakensberg paintings are 3,000 years old."

Previously they were dated to ca. 1100 AD.

Martin Wainwright in a February 7, 2004 Guardian article

see http://snipurl.com/4d2b or
http://www.guardian.co.uk/southafrica/story/0,13262,1143061,00.html

published in the Guardian as "Archaeologists shed new light on
African rock art"

writes that rock art in Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg in South Africa is at
least 2000 years older than previously believed, putting the date of
the art at ca. 1000 BC or earlier:

Wainwright writes:

"The dating breakthrough followed years of frustration over basic
carbon dating which required samples too big too remove without
destroying the paintings.
The new study pioneered a technical improvement which uses
accelerator mass spectrometry applied to salt samples taken from
painted rock without causing damage.
The dating breakthrough followed years of frustration over basic
carbon dating which required samples too big too remove without
destroying the paintings.
The new study pioneered a technical improvement which uses
accelerator mass spectrometry applied to salt samples taken from
painted rock without causing damage."

Just how accurate this method is remains to be seen - tests will
have to be calibrated with C-14 results worldwide - but there is no
doubt that the new method adds an important new element to the
determination of chronologies by scientific means.

This discovery of course meshes with our own research that rock art
in Africa dates clear back to at least ca. 3000 BC.

As noted at Eurekalert.org, Dr. Aron Mazel, Newcastle University,
School of Historical Studies, has stated:

"We are still in the early stages of exploiting this new technology
but it's possible further investigation could reveal that some of
the paintings could be even older than 3,000 years, especially as we
knew the San people first occupied the area 8,000 years ago."

As written at the Daily News at :
http://snipurl.com/4d2e or
http://dailynews.att.net/cgi-bin/news?cat=science&st=sciencebritainsafricasandc

"The San people, generally accepted as the first human inhabitants
of South Africa, were hunter-gatherers.
They are known to have been in the scenic Drakensberg area some
8,000 years ago, and their communities survived into the 19th
century."

Of course, this does not necessarily mean that the San were the cave
painters. They may be, but this is no definite proof of that
conclusion. We will see.

see also The Zulu Kingdom at
http://www.kzn.org.za/kzn/132.xml#1

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