Dating painting events through by-products of ochre processing: Borologa 1 Rockshelter, Kimberley, Australia

David, Bruno, Delannoy, Jean-Jacques, Petchey, Fiona, Gunn, Robert, Huntley, Jillian, Veth, Peter, Genuite, Kim, Skelly, Robert J., Mialanes, Jerome, Harper, Sam, Ouzman, Sven, Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation, , Heaney, Pauline, and Wong, Vanessa (2019) Dating painting events through by-products of ochre processing: Borologa 1 Rockshelter, Kimberley, Australia. Australian Archaeology, 85 (1). pp. 57-94.

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Abstract

The ‘direct’ dating of rock art has proliferated since the development of accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon, uranium-series and optically stimulated luminescence dating, yet still, most rock art is not directly datable due to the mineral nature of the constituent pigments. Here we present another method: the recovery and dating by stratigraphic association of small buried fragments of ochre and dried paint drops deposited onto soft sediment surfaces as by-products of paint production and use. These finds also give added contextual occupational information for archaeology of painting events. The case is made through the example of Borologa 1, a richly decorated Wanjina rockshelter in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia that contains buried hearths, grindstones, earth pigments and small fallen spalls of rock containing traces of pigment and paint drops. Results from excavation indicate the beginning of Wanjina motifs and associated painting conventions on Art Panel B1 sometime between 2,080–1,160 cal BP and their proliferation in the past millennium.

Item ID: 62944
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2470-0363
Keywords: Aboriginal sites, archaeological excavation methods, dating rock art, Kimberley, ochre processing, Wanjina
Copyright Information: © 2019 Australian Archaeological Association
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Kimberley Foundation Australia, Dunkeld Pastoral Co. Pty. Ltd.
Projects and Grants: ARC Linkage Project (LP150100490)
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2020 02:51
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 70%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 30%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 70%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 30%
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