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Australia is blessed with many beautiful examples of Aboriginal cave paintings and engravings but what does science tell us about how old they are?What are the different methods used to date such artworks?As usual, archeologists remain undecided about when Altamira's parietal art was first created.Early investigations suggested that the most of it was created at the same time as the Lascaux cave paintings - that is, during the early period of Magdalenian art (15,000 BCE).Indeed, Altamira's artists are renowned for how they used the natural contours of the cave to make their animal figures seem extra-real.The actual subterranean complex itself consists of a 270-metre long series of twisting passages ranging from 2-6 metres (about 7-20 feet) in height, in which more than 100 animal figures are depicted.One fallen and two broken speleothems were sampled in the Cacahuamilpa cave for dating the rupture event using measured U–Th disequilibrium ages.

According to archaeologist Dr Bruno David of Monash University the oldest reliably-dated rock engravings in Australia are 13,000 to 15000 years old, and are in Laura, Queensland.The Eagle Cave deposits may be complicated, but the preservation is incredible, and we are recovering an amazing variety of scientific data from uncharred plant remains, wooden artifacts, and woven mats to animal bones, insects and human coprolites.To allow us to properly and thoroughly date the Eagle Cave deposits and critical analytic samples, we have embarked on a crowdfunding campaign and are Texas State University’s inaugural guinea pig.The deposits in this dry rockshelter are complex – nothing like the flat, layer-cake examples found in archaeology textbooks.Instead we encounter twisting and turning layer upon layer often cutting through one another.

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But according to the most recent research, some drawings were made between 23,000 and 34,000 BCE, during the period of Aurignacian art, contemporaneous with the Chauvet Cave paintings and the Pech-Merle cave paintings.

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