Radiocarbon dating rock art

Stones used for pecking petroglyphs, brushes used for applying paint, mortars used to grind pigments and small fireplaces used to change minerals into pigments, these and other objects can link rock art with more typical archaeological materials found in the ground.

In that same ground there may be charcoal from a hearth or other organic materials permitting radiocarbon dating.

Rock Art can be “interpreted” in many ways, including by modern artists and spiritual practitioners with purposes which may have either a lot or very little to do with the reasons it was produced long ago.

These modern interpretations can be useful to those who engage in them, even giving great pleasure and serenity.

Stone is not directly datable in the time frame of human history. It is created by bacteria living on the rock and attaching clay particles to the rock.

In the process they incorporate the element manganese, which gives a dark color.

Rock art, whether shields, large human-like figures, or even mere handprints, may have been used mark territory, homes, food storage, or other things.What is called “seriation” of the frequencies of design motifs may show that one motif A was very early, increased gradually, then motif B began to occur more frequently as motif A was fading from use.Which motifs tend to occur often together, and which never do?Do the symbols used in one tradition of rock art resemble those used in another tradition?Designs on shields, both real shields and rock-art images of shields, are very likely to be symbolic, whether of powers which a warrior relied on for help in battle, or of other cultural ideas.

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