Under a mud-wasp nest, a team of researchers identified the kangaroo painted on the wall of a cave in the Kimberley area of Western Australia as the oldest rock design in the country’s history.
“This is an important discovery because early estimates allow us to understand something about the world where these former artists lived,” says postdoctoral fellow Damien Finch of the University of Melbourne. in a statement. “We will never know what was on the minds of those who did this work more than 600 generations ago, but we know that the naturalist period had extended to the last ice age, so the climate was cold at that time and drier than today. . “
The naturalist period cited by the researcher refers to the oldest recorded painting style, also known as Animal infill irregular, And it often displays animals in real size. According to the study, published in the journal on Monday (22) Nature human behaviorThe design of the two-meter long kangaroo is a typical example of style.
Sven Ozman, one of the authors of the study and a representative of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia, argues that rock painting is essential for a deep understanding of cultural history of Australian origin. “This iconic image of a kangaroo is similar to a rock painting of the Southeast Asian islands, built over 40,000 years ago, indicating the existence of an old rock art in Australia,” explains Ouzman.
This discovery is seen as a result of the integration between the natives represented by the University of Manchester, England, and traditional knowledge of Western science.
According to Sissy Gor-Burch, president of the tribal corporation Balangargra, this partnership is relevant to the preservation of Australian history and cultural identity. “It is important that indigenous knowledge and stories are not lost and continue to be shared by future generations”, says Bush Heritage Australia, representative of the organization, which belongs to the Jaru / Kija people.
To determine the age of work, the researchers used radiocarbon dating techniques. They were analyzed from a clay-wasp nest and collected in 16 identical images. The nests were overlapped, both under a kangaroo’s painting, allowing experts to calculate a possible age range.
The drawing must have at least one age, such as the incomplete carbon and the maximum age of the fractions found below the work. The conclusion was a gap between 17.5 and 17.1 thousand years. Finch says, “By radiocarbon, we detect the three wasp nests inherent in the painting and the three nests built on it that the painting is probably 17,300 years old.”
From now on, experts intend to record a timeline of rock art developed throughout the history of the Kimberley region, following the nesting technique of dating wasps that are in contact with ancient paintings.