x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A 28,0000-year-old masterpiece: oldest rock art found in Australia

An archaeologist says tests show Aboriginal rock art in a cave was made 28,000 years ago, making it the oldest in Australia and among the oldest in the world.

A fragment of charcoal rock art dated to 28,000 years ago has been found in Arnhem land in Australia’s Northern Territory.
A fragment of charcoal rock art dated to 28,000 years ago has been found in Arnhem land in Australia’s Northern Territory.

CANBERRA // An archaeologist says tests show Aboriginal rock art in a cave was made 28,000 years ago, making it the oldest in Australia and among the oldest in the world.

The dating of one of the thousands of images in the rock shelter known as Nawarla Gabarnmang will be published in the next edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Bryce Barker, an archaeologist from the University of Southern Queensland, said that the rock art was made with charcoal, so radiocarbon dating could be used to determine its age.

Most rock art is made with mineral paint, so its age cannot be accurately measured.

Australian National University archaeologist Sally May, who is not involved with Mr Barker's research, described his find as "incredibly significant".