How is Cave Art Dated?

Does cave art count as written records? There is a lot of that…


Pictures of animals and symbols are records, but how do we date them?

Assumptions are made that they are old because they are found in caves, or on walls, nobody really knows the date because the pigments may be from inorganic matter and we can’t verify any carbon dating past 2500 years or so because there are few written records to accurately corroborate the carbon dating claims. In a court of law that evidence would be dismissed, as unverified or uncorroborated.

Methods we have assumed are correct like carbon dating radial carbon dating, have been adjusted, corrected and have huge margins of error. Also there is the potential for time and space to be affected by gravity and speed … so how do we know past the written record… We can’t, everything is an assumption because humans have not been around that long, and did not write things down very often until about 2500 years ago.

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Would you like to learn how? We have people who can teach you. @jammycakes, @Joel_Duff and others…

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I somewhat understand the technology, but I would love to see the methods and what answers I can find in the technology and techniques. As always concerned about assumptions, always willing to learn.

Sorry but both those claims are flat out wrong. Some cave painting can be dated directly because the art used organic materials (i.e. charcoal) as a drawing source. Others can be relatively dated by organic materials (fire pit wood, trace food remnants from cooking) left by the artists. 14C dating is also calibrated by over a dozen independent yearly proxies (tree rings, spelothems, ice cores, lake varves, coral growth bands, etc.) and is accurate to withing a few percent back over 50,000 years.

Yes, but chill out and explain it to him.

Sounds like an honest request for conversation. Perhaps try this paper:

Absolute Dating of Cave Art | Science

Paleolithic cave art is one of the most striking visual reminders of tens of millennia of human prehistory. Found throughout the world, it is fundamental for understanding the earliest human culture and artistic endeavor. Yet, despite great advances in dating technologies, it remains extremely difficult to determine the age of a thin layer of pigment on a cave or rock shelter wall. Researchers are often limited to reconstructing relative chronology by comparing drawing styles and, where available, creating sometimes tenuous links to other dated human remains or artifacts ( 1 , 2 ). Mass-spectrometric radiocarbon dating has arguably been the most successful technique for dating cave art, in the rare cases where it is possible to directly date charcoal or other pigments containing carbon ( 2 ). On page 1409 of this issue, Pike et al. report an ambitious study of paleolithic cave art sites from Spain in which they have applied the previously under used uranium-thorium (U-Th) dating method ( 3 ).

"Not that in some situations other methods are available too. Here is another good article to look at:

U-TH dating is one method

Edit: I need to start reading the threads. Noticed someone mentioned it above

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