Kiwis confirm rock painting as Australia’s oldest

Researchers from the University of Waikato carbon-dating team have have identified recently discovered rock art in Australia’s Northern Territories as the being country’s oldest.

Prof Barker at the site where the 28,000 year old charcoal drawn fragment was found

Researchers from the University of Southern Queensland, during  excavation of a small part of a massive rock shelter site named Narwala Gabarnmang, uncovered a rock fragment displaying part of a charcoal drawing.

A specialist dating team led by Dr Fiona Petchey from the University of Waikato radiocarbon laboratory took scrapings of the charcoal which subsequently turned out to date to 28,000 years ago, making it the oldest firmly dated rock art painting in Australia and amongst some of the earliest evidence of human painting in the world.The findings are to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The Narwala Gabarnmang site is one of the richest Aboriginal rock art sites in Australia and one of the most extensive in the world.

It has been described as the ‘Sistine Chapel of rock art sites’ due to the extensive coverings of art on the roof of the shelter.

The New Zealand Herald covered the story locally, and the dating of the rock art was widely covered in Australia. Examples of coverage include:

The Australian: Finding puts Aborigines among art’s avant garde

MSN News: Archaeologist finds oldest rock art in Australia

Toowoomba Chronicle: USQ team in rock art find

Herald Sun: The ‘Sistine Chapel of rock art’ uncovered by Australian achaeologists

Cosmos Magazine: Aboriginal rock art is 28,000 years old