Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Welsh reindeer is Britain's oldest rock art, U-series dating suggests

Date:
June 29, 2012
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
A reindeer engraved on the wall of a cave in South Wales has been found to date from at least 14,505 years ago -- making it the oldest known rock art in the British Isles.

The image was carved using a sharp-pointed tool, probably made of flint.
Credit: Image by Dr George Nash

A reindeer engraved on the wall of a cave in South Wales has been found to date from at least 14,505 years ago -- making it the oldest known rock art in the British Isles.

The engraving was discovered in September 2010 by Dr George Nash from the University of Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology while he was exploring the rear section of Cathole Cave, a limestone cave on the eastern side of an inland valley on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales.

Found to the rear of the cave on a small vertical limestone niche, the engraved cervid -- probably a stylised reindeer -- is shown side-on and measures approximately 15 x 11cm. It was carved using a sharp-pointed tool, probably made of flint, by an artist using his or her right hand. The animal's elongated torso has been infilled with irregular-spaced vertical and diagonal lines, whilst the legs and stylised antlers comprise simple lines.

The reindeer was engraved over a mineral deposit known as a 'speleothem' (cave formation), which itself developed over a large piece of limestone. Extending over the left side of the figure is a flowstone deposit (speleothem cover) which extends across part of the animal's muzzle and antler set.

In April 2011, Dr Peter van Calsteren and Dr Louise Thomas of the NERC-Open University Uranium-series Facility extracted three samples from the surface of the speleothem covering the engraving. One of these samples produced a minimum date of 12,572 years BP (before present), with a margin of plus or minus 600 years. A further sample, taken in June 2011 from the same flowstone deposit, revealed a minimum date of 14,505 years BP, plus or minus 560 years.

Dr Nash said: "The earlier date is comparable with Uranium-series dating of flowstone that covers engraved figures within Church Hole Cave at Creswell along the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border. However, the new minimum date of 14,505 + 560 years BP makes the engraved reindeer in South Wales the oldest rock art in the British Isles, if not North-western Europe."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gower Pensinsula, South Wales’ by George H. Nash, Peter van Calsteren, Louise Thomas and Michael J. Simms. A discovery of possible Upper Paleolithic parietal art in Cathole Cave. Proc. Univ. Bristol Spelaeol Soc., 2012

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "Welsh reindeer is Britain's oldest rock art, U-series dating suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142527.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2012, June 29). Welsh reindeer is Britain's oldest rock art, U-series dating suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142527.htm
University of Bristol. "Welsh reindeer is Britain's oldest rock art, U-series dating suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120629142527.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

Iceland Lowers Aviation Alert on Volcano

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Iceland has lowered its aviation alert on its largest volcano after a fresh eruption on a nearby lava field prompted authorities to enforce a flight ban for several hours. Duration: 01:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

Lightning Hurts 3 on NYC Beach

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) — A lightning strike injured three people on a New York City beach on Sunday. The storms also delayed flights and interrupted play at the US Open tennis tournament. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

Thailand Totters Towards Waste Crisis

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Fears are mounting in Bangkok that poor planning and lax law enforcement are tipping Thailand towards a waste crisis. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Melting Ice Shelves Drive Rapid Antarctic Sea Level Rise

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — A study of almost 20 years' worth of satellite images shows Antarctic sea levels are on the rise as ice shelves continue to melt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins