Dating of rock art in southern america
Generally speaking, rock paintings in unprotected environments (like boulder faces) are thought to be less than 500 years old because they are exposed to wind and rain.
But carved designs in hard rock like granite are durable and can last for thousands of years in a stable environment.
Why should Native American rock art sites be protected?
For more than 40,000 years, humans have been inspired to create what archeologists call “rock art”: paintings and engravings on natural stone surfaces.
In North America, specifically in California and the surrounding region, archaeological evidence suggests that settlement began in the Paleoindian period (approximately 12,000-8,000 YBP, or “years before present”), with the greatest use of the area occurring 2,600 to 1,000 YBP.
It is difficult to know when the sites in these particular images were created, because currently there are few techniques for dating rock art.
The water has not damaged them, although vandals have.The striking and inspiring rock art is celebrated, photographed, illustrated, recorded, and studied by hundreds of enthusiasts across the country and a much smaller number of dedicated researchers.Typing "Lower Pecos Rock Art" into your favorite search engine will yield dozens of web pages, many with beautiful images and some with useful information.Some paintings that depict European colonists and their equipment and animals such as horses, clearly postdate the early 17th century, and very recently, a radiocarbon date on plant fibres trapped in the paint on the wall of a Drakensberg cave, indicate a date of between 250 and 420 years ago.It is thought that one of the last painters was a San man who was shot in the Drakensberg in the 1850s.He had a number of pigment-filled horns on his belt.Besides the more than 130 Rock Painting locations identified within the Kruger Park, three very rare Rock Engraving sites have also been located.Kirkland made these "copies" as he called them, on July 13, 1937.As subsequent recorders have learned, copying rock art is a subjective processwhat is copied depends on lighting conditions, condition of the pictographs, and the eye and skill of the beholder. Close up of pictograph of European man, probably a Spaniard, at Vaquero Alcove.The photographs in this collection depict rock art sites throughout central and southern California.The aboriginal peoples who created this artwork have a very long history in the region.