Australian Rock Art Might Predict the Events Following Rising Seas

Back in 1891, Australian rancher Joseph Bradshaw might have had a glimpse from the future without even realizing it. He was lost in the northwestern Kimberly area and searching for any familiar thing when he discovered the oddest thing in nature. A rock which displayed quite the scenery of some colored figures. Since then, the painted figures dubbed Gwions, have played with the archaeologists’ minds and beliefs. When were the rocks painted, and by whom? Questions might find some answers after so long.

Australian Rock Art Like Never-Before

Recently, a team of researchers enrolled in what seemed to be a lost cause. They utilized little fragments of charcoal in fossilized wasp nests to realize a new date for the art rocks. The result was 12,000 years ago!

Dating such ancient pieces of art is challenging. The so-many characters, pattern, which display exquisitely detailed tassels, spears, headdresses, boomerangs – were realized on rock shelters with mineral ochres that are so hard to determine a period. Stylistically, the works of art are nothing like Wandjina art, influenced by spirit characters with large and dark eyes. Such elements are part of mythology still found in Aboriginal groups.

The charcoal sometimes utilized for the Wanjina eyes lets determine radiocarbon dating and place the period of those works of art at approximately 5000 years. But the Gwion one is the most intriguing and unique because it doesn’t include charcoal.

This Rock Art Might Showcase the Events Following Rising Seas

The mud wasp is partial to rock shelters, and they made some nests on top of the paintings. Such a thing means that they were done before the nests. Researchers used an optical process that examined how lown quartz sand grains had been inside.

Richard Roberts from the University of Wollongong succeeded in determining the period of a big nest somewhere over 17,000 years old. For the current research, the method was applied to 21 paintings at 14 various rock shelters. In 13 cases, the nests were situated on top, making the pieces of art older than the nests.

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