Archaeologist Bryce Barker has found the oldest piece of rock art in Australia, created by Aborigines in a remote Outback cave known as Nawarla Gabarnmang in the Northern Territory.
As one fragment of the rock art was made with charcoal, radiocarbon dating was able to determine its age at 28,000 years. The fragment probably broke loose from the cave’s ceiling shortly after the image was drawn and was preserved in the soil on the floor of the cave. It is one of thousands of images covering the ceiling of the cave appearing to depict flora, fauna, and humans themselves, in various, ahem, ‘action’ scenes. It seems humans have always been preoccupied with food and sex!
Barker said: “We’ve only excavated a tiny fraction of the site and we expect there will be art older than 28,000 years…we know that Aboriginal people started using the site 45,000 years ago.” He added that the find, “puts Aboriginal people up there as among the most advanced people in human evolution.”
Image: Bryce Barker/Associated Press