Pigment geochemistry as chronological marker: the case of lead pigment in rock art in the Urrmarning 'Red Lily Lagoon' rock art precinct, western Arnhem Land

Wesley, Daryl, Jones, Tristen, and Reepmeyer, Christian (2014) Pigment geochemistry as chronological marker: the case of lead pigment in rock art in the Urrmarning 'Red Lily Lagoon' rock art precinct, western Arnhem Land. Australian Archaeology, 78. pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

This paper presents selected results of an experimental study using portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) for the non-destructive analysis of rock art pigments in northern Australia. During two weeks of fieldwork in the dry season of 2011 at the Red Lily Lagoon area in western Arnhem Land, 32 rock art motifs in four rockshelter sites were analysed. A total of 640 analyses were undertaken, including of white, red, black, yellow and blue pigments from both early and contact art motifs. This paper discusses the geochemical analysis of one particular motif painted with black pigment. It was determined that processed metal lead was the most likely pigment base. Contrary to previous stylistic analysis that suggested the motif had an old age, our analysis suggests that the motif was painted within the last 200–300 years.

Item ID: 38976
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0312-2417
Keywords: rock art research; geochemistry; contact art; pigment studies
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Bushfires Council, NT, Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment Heritage and Water
Projects and Grants: LP0882985
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2015 03:45
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 60%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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