AASV1_2016 AASV Public Lecture: The Kimberley Rock Art Dating Project: Background Methods & Advances - Prof Andrew Gleadow, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne
Thursday, 17 March 2016 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm (AEDT)
The Kimberley Rock Art Dating Project: Background Methods and Advances
Presenter: Prof Andrew Gleadow
Project Leader, School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne.
Dating of rock art has traditionally been regarded as impossible to, at best, extremely difficult, and only likely to succeed in certain restricted circumstances. Most successful results have been obtained where charcoal has been used as a pigment, enabling direct radiocarbon dating. More recently Uranium-series dating has been applied in Europe and Indonesia to limestone cave deposits, where this method is well established for dating flowstone carbonates. Other methods, such as optically stimulated luminescence, have potential but have so far met with limited success. The spectacular rock art sites of the Kimberley, and Arnhem Land, are found in ancient sandstone terranes that are almost completely devoid of carbonates, and charcoal pigments are restricted only to the most recent rock art stages. Nevertheless, research has shown that the rock panels on which figurative and engraved art motifs are found in northern Australia are not passive substrates, but active and evolving geomorphic and geochemical environments. Understanding the local surface processes on these rock faces, and indeed the surfaces themselves, is providing new insights into mineralogical and organic accumulations that have potential for dating and often show clear bracketing age relationships to rock art. The Kimberley Rock Art Dating Project is a major multidisciplinary effort, supported by the Australian Research Council and the Kimberley Foundation Australia, to date the established rock art sequence of the Kimberley. The project involves a large team of researchers with complementary specialties in geology, geochemistry, geochronology, , physics and archaeology working together with traditional owners. The concerted application of a range of advanced technologies is now making strong progress on multiple fronts. The project is the largest ever to address the central problem of advancing the science of dating rock art and success will have important implications not only for the Kimberley, but also in rock art provinces elsewhere in Australia and other parts of the world.
When & Where
Archaeological & Anthropological Society of Victoria (AASV)
The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria was formed in 1976 through the amalgamation of two societies, the Anthropological Society of Victoria and the Archaeological Society of Victoria. Although one was formed 30 years before the other both owed their origin to inspiring lectures given by singularly gifted academic lecturers to what were largely non-academic audiences. Both lecturers were on the staff of the University of Melbourne but stimulated the enthusiasm of people outside the university community.
The AASV welcomes members from all walks of life: professional archaeologists and anthropologists, students, and interested laypeople. We hold monthly meetings with free lectures covering a wide range of topics from the broad disciplines of archaeology and anthropology, and we offer a range of activities including fieldtrips and the opportunity to participate on archaeological digs. While the Pacific region has a special place in the work of the Society, lectures cover a wide range of topics and regions across the world. Links with the University of Melbourne, LaTrobe University and Monash are strong with both staff and students regularly speaking to the society about their work.