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U-series dating of Palaeolithic art in 11 caves in Spain

U-series dating of Palaeolithic art in 11 caves in Spain
U-series dating of Palaeolithic art in 11 caves in Spain
Paleolithic cave art is an exceptional archive of early human symbolic behavior, but because obtaining reliable dates has been difficult, its chronology is still poorly understood after more than a century of study. We present uranium-series disequilibrium dates of calcite deposits overlying or underlying art found in 11 caves, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites of Altamira, El Castillo, and Tito Bustillo, Spain. The results demonstrate that the tradition of decorating caves extends back at least to the Early Aurignacian period, with minimum ages of 40.8 thousand years for a red disk, 37.3 thousand years for a hand stencil, and 35.6 thousand years for a claviform-like symbol. These minimum ages reveal either that cave art was a part of the cultural repertoire of the first anatomically modern humans in Europe or that perhaps Neandertals also engaged in painting caves.
0036-8075
1409-1413
Pike, A.W.G.
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857
Hoffmann, D.L.
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Garcia-Diez, M.
67bbc6e6-c49f-4e35-aea3-a1d5d30702ea
Pettitt, P.B.
8bdb0d4f-34ff-4314-b396-86d51908a9aa
Alcolea, J.
671cec68-0d7b-4e26-8a38-753e465abd84
de Balbin, R.
1240b67c-a4e4-465f-8e0e-d9547bdff460
Gonzalez-Sainz, C.
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de las Heras, C.
2735951f-5752-47f5-bb0e-a0a96e34e3ea
Lasheras, J.A.
4beed2e8-19ee-44be-b068-0186d507d183
Montes, R.
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Zilhao, J.
b8b1c80f-62b9-465a-8aee-8b71e786e7aa
Pike, A.W.G.
e8603e20-0a89-4d57-a294-247b983fc857
Hoffmann, D.L.
a907ccc5-1e0b-4db1-a1d8-c79ab6778510
Garcia-Diez, M.
67bbc6e6-c49f-4e35-aea3-a1d5d30702ea
Pettitt, P.B.
8bdb0d4f-34ff-4314-b396-86d51908a9aa
Alcolea, J.
671cec68-0d7b-4e26-8a38-753e465abd84
de Balbin, R.
1240b67c-a4e4-465f-8e0e-d9547bdff460
Gonzalez-Sainz, C.
2257de5c-f63e-4c7d-ad04-b5344dc86c2b
de las Heras, C.
2735951f-5752-47f5-bb0e-a0a96e34e3ea
Lasheras, J.A.
4beed2e8-19ee-44be-b068-0186d507d183
Montes, R.
60c65f43-a6d3-4eec-a679-f0a43d9c999b
Zilhao, J.
b8b1c80f-62b9-465a-8aee-8b71e786e7aa

Pike, A.W.G., Hoffmann, D.L., Garcia-Diez, M., Pettitt, P.B., Alcolea, J., de Balbin, R., Gonzalez-Sainz, C., de las Heras, C., Lasheras, J.A., Montes, R. and Zilhao, J. (2012) U-series dating of Palaeolithic art in 11 caves in Spain. Science, 336 (6087), 1409-1413. (doi:10.1126/science.1219957).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Paleolithic cave art is an exceptional archive of early human symbolic behavior, but because obtaining reliable dates has been difficult, its chronology is still poorly understood after more than a century of study. We present uranium-series disequilibrium dates of calcite deposits overlying or underlying art found in 11 caves, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage sites of Altamira, El Castillo, and Tito Bustillo, Spain. The results demonstrate that the tradition of decorating caves extends back at least to the Early Aurignacian period, with minimum ages of 40.8 thousand years for a red disk, 37.3 thousand years for a hand stencil, and 35.6 thousand years for a claviform-like symbol. These minimum ages reveal either that cave art was a part of the cultural repertoire of the first anatomically modern humans in Europe or that perhaps Neandertals also engaged in painting caves.

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Published date: 2012
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 343240
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/343240
ISSN: 0036-8075
PURE UUID: 6513f392-8798-42fb-930f-effc4148fc4c
ORCID for A.W.G. Pike: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5610-8948

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Date deposited: 02 Oct 2012 13:41
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:37

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Contributors

Author: A.W.G. Pike ORCID iD
Author: D.L. Hoffmann
Author: M. Garcia-Diez
Author: P.B. Pettitt
Author: J. Alcolea
Author: R. de Balbin
Author: C. Gonzalez-Sainz
Author: C. de las Heras
Author: J.A. Lasheras
Author: R. Montes
Author: J. Zilhao

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