Indeed, it has been a major obstacle in this area of research.The success of this project is based on very careful chemical characterisation of the composition of the paint and contaminants on the rock.
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, Professor David Pearce, Director of the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Adelphine Bonneau of Laval University, and colleagues at the University of Oxford showed that paintings in south-eastern Botswana are at least 5500 years old, whilst paintings in Lesotho and the Eastern Cape Drakensberg, South Africa, date as far back as 3000 years.
These dates open the floodgates for researchers to ask and answer questions about the rock art that have baffled them for decades. In some sites, paintings continued to be made for more than a thousand years.
The new dates were obtained using radiocarbon dating.
Over the decades rock art has proved extremely difficult to directly date.
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