Dating rock art using mud wasp nests

Press/Media: Research

Period1 Jul 2016 → 6 Jul 2016

Media contributions

4

Media contributions

  • TitleScientists find ice age art in the Kimberley
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletSydney Morning Herald
    Media typePrint
    CountryAustralia
    Date6/07/16
    DescriptionResearchers have reached a milestone in their quest to show the Kimberley’s rock art is among the world’s oldest, proving one work was created before the height of
    the last ice age ‘‘glaciation’’. The team has laboured for three
    years over what they call one of the globe’s longest and most dramatic rock art sequences, in the region’s north-west near iconic Mitchell Falls.
    Producer/AuthorEmma Young
    PersonsKira Westaway, June Ross
  • TitleAustralia’s Ice Age Rock Art
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletArchaeology
    Media typeWeb
    CountryUnited States
    Date2/07/16
    DescriptionRock art in Australia’s northwest Kimberley dates to the Paleolithic era, according to a report in Perth Now. A team of researchers with the Australian Research Council documented, analyzed, and dated more than 200 rock art sites in the region with different dating techniques. One of the techniques, optically stimulated luminescence, dated sand grains found in fossilized mud wasp nests that had been built over the ancient images. “As long as we understand how the nests are constructed and how well they’re preserved over thousands of years, we can use the resulting age to confidently claim that the artist painted this image before the mud wasp constructed its nest,” explained geochronologist Kira Westaway of Macquarie University. Accelerator mass spectrometry was also used to date the carbon in the wasp nests and spots of beeswax found on the images. June Ross of the University of New England said that the oldest image in the study, “a perfectly preserved, yam-like motif painted in mulberry colored ochre on the ceiling of a deep cavern,” was dated to more than 16,000 years old. She added that Australia’s oldest pictures may have been painted along the ancient coastline and may now be submerged. To read more, go to "The First Artists."
    URLhttps://www.archaeology.org/news/4809-160901-australia-ancient-art
    PersonsKira Westaway
  • TitleWasp nests help to unlock secrets of WA's Aboriginal rock art
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletABC News online
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date1/07/16
    DescriptionResearchers have used wasp nests that are thousands of years old to date Aboriginal paintings in Western Australia's remote north-west Kimberley region.

    After a three-year-long project, archaeologists have dated what they say "may be the longest, most impressive rock art sequence anywhere in the world".

    The collaborative Australian Research Council project involved researchers from the University of New England, Macquarie University and the University of Wollongong, and 20 Aboriginal community members from Kandiwal and Kalumburu.

    The group focused on the Mitchell Plateau and the area around the Lawley River, home to some of the most remote and rugged country in Australia.

    Lead author and archaeologist from the University of New England, Dr June Ross, said results from dating the wasp nests overlying the artworks confirmed the origin of the rock art was "indeed ancient".

    She said it provided evidence that the art was painted just after the height of the last ice age.
    Producer/Author Leah McLennan and Vanessa Mills
    URLhttps://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-01/rock-art-in-kimberley-dated/7805262
    PersonsKira Westaway, June Ross
  • TitleResearches date ‘world’s earliest rock art’ in WA’s Kimberley Region
    Degree of recognitionNational
    Media name/outletPerth Now
    Media typeWeb
    CountryAustralia
    Date1/07/16
    DescriptionAfter a three year long project researchers have dated what may be the longest, most impressive rock art sequence anywhere
    in the world
    PersonsKira Westaway