"Rock art is notoriously difficult to date," says David.
"Most pigment art contains no dateable carbon, and therefore radiocarbon dating is usually not feasible." What is known as the oldest rock art in the world - cave paintings in Indonesia and Spain — was dated using a more complex method that measures the age of a microscopic layer of minerals deposited after the art is created. Instead of measuring the decay of radioactive carbon, this method relies on measuring the decay of uranium in the microscopic layer to provide a minimum age for the art.
Australia is blessed with many beautiful examples of Aboriginal cave paintings and engravings but what does science tell us about how old they are?
What are the different methods used to date such artworks?
"You often hear people talk about the oldest continuous culture in the world being Aboriginal culture," says geologist Professor Brad Pillans of the Australian National University."Many archaeologists have thought rock art has been a part of Aboriginal culture since earliest times...