In the past, rock art has proved to be extremely difficult to date mainly due to the lack of any entity in the paints that can be used for dating and this lack of reliable dating has been a major obstacle in this area of research. Scientists have pioneered a technique to date prehistoric rock paintings in southern Africa, which reveals dates much older than previously thought. For example, some paintings in Botswana have been dated at over 5500 years old and others in Lesotho and the Drakensberg date back as far as 3000 years. Some sites contain paintings with dates ranging over many centuries which indicate that people returned repeatedly to make rock paintings very similar to those painted centuries or millennia before, possibly as part of a religious ritual.
David Pearce will explain the dating technique and reflect on his findings and their implications for our understanding of the hunter-gatherer religion in southern Africa. David Pearce is Associate Professor and Director in the Rock Art Research Institute, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand. His primary research interest is cognitive archaeology, specialising in Southern African hunter-gatherers. He has been running a multi- institutional research project on Later Stone Age rock art and related archaeology in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province for a number of years. He also directs an international project developing techniques to date rock paintings.
- Date: Thursday, 15 November 2018 19h30
- Venue: The Auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg
- Charge: Non-members: R30, members: free (Hosted by Archsoc Northern Branch)
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