All work undertaken on the Rock Art Australia-funded Dating project, is conducted in the Drysdale River National Park in the Kimberley region of Western Australia in partnership with the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation.
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“The dating of this oldest known painting in an Australian rock shelter holds a great deal of significance for Aboriginal people and Australians and is an important part of Australia’s history,” said Cissy Gore-Birch, Chair of the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation.
It is rare to find a rock art painting with mud wasp nests under and over the pigment of a single painting. The kangaroo painting that is in a well-protected rock shelter had three nest underlying the painting and three nests built on top of the painting that were dated. These ages of the nests determine the painting is between 17,500 and 17,100 years old; most likely 17,300 years old. These dates help to reconstruct the environment in which these artists lived around 600 generations ago.
llustration: Pauline Heaney
The Rock Art Australia – ARC funded Kimberley-based research is part of Australia’s largest rock art dating project, led by Professor Andy Gleadow from the University of Melbourne. It involves the Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, the Universities of Western Australia, Wollongong, and Manchester, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, and partners Rock Art Australia and Dunkeld Pastoral company.
Published today in Nature Human Behaviour, Dr Finch and his colleagues detail how rock shelters have preserved the Kimberley galleries of rock paintings, many of them painted over by younger artists, for millennia – and how they managed to date the kangaroo rock painting.
The NITV Podcast – Australia’s oldest rock art discovered in the Kimberley.
Oldest-known Australian rock art is 17,300-year-old kangaroo in the Kimberley, wasp nests show.
Researchers declare WA’s Kimberley region home to Australia’s oldest rock art.
Australia’s oldest art is a 17,300-year-old painting of a kangaroo.
ABC Radio Sydney
Australia’s oldest known in-situ rock painting – so far.
17,300-year-old Kimberley kangaroo recognised as Australia’s oldest rock artwork.
Oldest Cave Art In Australia Has Been Found And – Of Course – It’s A Kangaroo.
Australia’s oldest known Aboriginal rock paintings.
This 17,500-year-old kangaroo in the Kimberley is Australia’s oldest Aboriginal rock painting.
The New Scientist
Australia’s oldest known rock art is a 17,000-year-old kangaroo.
Australia’s oldest rock painting is 17,000-year-old picture of jumping kangaroo.
Roo-minating about our oldest rock art.
Life-size drawing of a KANGAROO dating back 17,500 years is found in Australia and could be the continent’s oldest rock painting.
Australia: Oldest rock art is 17,300-year-old kangaroo.
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→ Australia Rock Art Index
→ Introduction to the Australia Rock Art Archive
→ Rock Art of the Kimberley
→ Dating the Rock Art of the Kimberley
→ Australia's Oldest Known Rock Art
→ Film - Griffith University's Laureate
→ ABC Radio National 'Nightlife'
→ Experts rush to map fire-hit rock art
→ The aftermath of fire damage to important rock art at the Baloon Cave tourist destination, Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland, Australia
→ Studying the Source of Dust
→ Rock Art of Western Arnhem Land
→ Australia's Aboriginal People
→ The Kimberley
→ Out in the Back Country - Hugh Brown
→ Rock Art Australia
→ Bradshaw Foundation
→ Rock Art Network