A 1,500-year drought in Australia may have led to the demise of an ancient aboriginal culture, a new study suggests.
The results, published Nov. 28 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, show that geological traces of a mega-drought in the northwest Kimberley region of Western Australia coincide with a gap and transition in the region’s rock art style. The finding suggests that the people who lived prior to the drought, called the Gwion, either left the region or dramatically altered their culture as a result of the drought, and a new culture called the Wanjinda eventually took its place. Read more.
This ancient rock picture near Egypt’s Nile River was first spotted by an explorer more than a century ago—and then almost completely forgotten.
Scientists who rediscovered it now think it’s the earliest known depiction of a pharaoh.
The royal figure at the center of the panel wears the “White Crown,” the bowling pin-shaped headpiece that symbolized kingship of southern Egypt, and carries a long scepter.
An imposing flotilla testifies to the power and status of the pharaoh. This close-up of tableau 7a shows five vessels accompanying the king. Four of the boats have the crescent shape or the animal emblems that mark them as royal vessels.
Though difficult to make out, this picture shows a herd of long-horned cattle accompanied by two human figures and two dogs. It could be a hunting scene, which was a common genre before the time of the pharaohs.
Three men on foot seem to be shaking their upraised fists at the boat in front of them.
Based on other images from roughly the same time period, the researchers think the men aren’t aggressors but prisoners: The features that look like arms thrust into the air are probably ropes tied to the men, whose arms are bound behind their backs. More.
Ken Mulvaney has been researching rock art in the Kimberley, the Pilbara and the Northern Territory for the past 30 years.
Now based in Dampier, he is paid by a mining company to protect culturally rich areas like the Dampier Archipelago and Burrup Peninsula, where some art is thought to date back 30,000 years.
Dr Mulvaney says mining companies and university research bodies are the only ones spending big to protect the state’s heritage.
“The amount of money that the State Government has put into this is minimal,” he said.
“They don’t even have adequate staff at the moment, there are supposed to be two Department of Indigenous Affairs archaeology people up here.
“There is inadequate protection and policing of heritage by the state.”
Dr Mulvaney says it is ironic that the mining sector, which poses one of the biggest threats to rock art, is also its biggest benefactor. Read more.
The president of the Portuguese Association of Archeological Research (APIA), Nuno Ribeiro, revealed Monday having found rock art on the island of Terceira, supporting his believe that human occupation of the Azores predates the arrival of the Portuguese by many thousands of years, Lusa reported.
“We have found a rock art site with representations we believe can be dated back to the Bronze Age,” Ribeiro told Lusa in Ponta Delgada, at a presentation in University of the Azores on the topic of early human occupation of the Azores.
The oldest cave art known in Europe is of prehistoric origin, dating back to approximately 40,000 years ago.
In the last three years, Ribeiro has been claiming that archeological remains of structures discovered on several Azorean islands are of pre-Portuguese origin by its architecture and construction. Read more.
A reindeer engraved on the wall of a cave in south Wales has been confirmed as the oldest known rock art in Britain.
The image in Cathole Cave on Gower, south Wales was created at least 14,000 years ago, said Bristol University. Archaeologist Dr George Nash found the engraving while exploring a rear section of the cave in September 2010.
He said uranium dating showed it was the oldest rock art in the British Isles, if not north-western Europe.
The reindeer was engraved over a mineral deposit known as a speleothem, carved using a sharp-pointed tool, probably made of flint, by an artist using his or her right hand.
The animal’s elongated torso has been infilled with irregular-spaced vertical and diagonal lines, whilst the legs and stylised antlers comprise simple lines. Read more.
An archeologist says tests show Aboriginal rock art in an Outback cave was made 28,000 years ago, making it the oldest in Australia and among the oldest in the world, the Associated Press reported.
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.
University of Southern Queensland archeologist Bryce Barker said Monday, June 18 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 archeologist Sally May, who is not involved with Barker’s research, described his find as “incredibly significant.” (source)
Ancient rock art has been likened to a prehistoric form of Facebook by a Cambridge archaeologist.
Mark Sapwell, who is a PhD archaeology student at St John’s College, believes he has discovered an “archaic version” of the social networking site, where users share thoughts and emotions and give stamps of approval to other contributions – similar to the Facebook “like”.
Images of animals and events were drawn on the rock faces in Russian and Northern Sweden to communicate with distant tribes and descendants during the Bronze Age.
They form a timeline preserved in stone encompassing thousands of years.
Mr Sapwell said: “Like a Facebook status invites comment, the rock art appears very social and invites addition – the way the variations of image both mirror and reinterpret act as a kind of call and response between different packs of hunters across hundreds – even thousands – of years.”
The two sites he is investigating, Zalavruga in Russia and Nämforsen in Northern Sweden, contain around 2,500 images each of animals, people, boats, hunting scenes and even early centaurs and mermaids. Read more.
SANTA CLARA — The Bureau of Land Management is responding to vandalism at rock art sites located on public lands, including the archaeological and historic site of Land Hill.
Land Hill is part of the Santa Clara River Reserve – a 6,500-acre area of public land collaboratively managed by BLM and the cities of Ivins and Santa Clara, in part to protect the many prehistoric sites found there, including a high concentration of rock art sites that are preserved on those lands.
The BLM’s St. George Field Office has increased its monitoring efforts, is educating the public about these fragile cultural resource sites, and is pointing out the legal consequences of vandalism activities.
The many petroglyph panels of the Land Hill site reflect the stories and beliefs of the Native Americans who inhabited the area along the Santa Clara River as long as 5,000 years ago. Read more.