Verification of the age of the Palaeolithic cave art at Creswell Crags, UK

Pike, Alistair W.G; Gilmour, Mabs; Pettitt, Paul; Jacobi, Roger; Ripoll, Sergio; Bahn, Paul and Munoz, Francisco (2005). Verification of the age of the Palaeolithic cave art at Creswell Crags, UK. Journal of Archaeological Science, 32(11) pp. 1649–1655.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2005.05.002

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S...

Abstract

Engravings representing Britain's first apparently Pleistocene cave art were discovered in Church Hole and Robin Hood caves, Creswell Crags. Representations of a deer, highly stylised females or birds and vulvae were engraved into the bedrock, and in some cases had been covered with a thin layer of flowstone. In the absence of radiocarbon datable pigments, uranium-series disequilibrium dating was undertaken on these flowstones to provide minimum ages for the engravings. Here we show that the oldest motif was carved earlier than 12,800 years ago which is consistent with radiocarbon dates for the Late Upper Palaeolithic archaeology at Creswell Crags. Thus we demonstrate the authenticity of the engravings and show them to be the oldest known examples in Britain.

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