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How is Rock Art aged?
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Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4648 posts

How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 11:16
Two questions for our experts. Is it possible to 'age' unrecorded rock art and at the same time differentiate between two distinct periods (age) of art on the same rock?
tiompan
tiompan
5758 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 11:55
Sanctuary wrote:
Two questions for our experts. Is it possible to 'age' unrecorded rock art and at the same time differentiate between two distinct periods (age) of art on the same rock?


Roy , at the moment European rock art is dated by association and stylistically there is no technology like RC dating for dating although OSL (optically stimulated luminiscence ) provides hope .
Apart from the association and style it might be possible to differentiate the use of stone or metal for engraving ,whilst not absolute , i.e. the engraving could have been done with stone last week ,it could be helpful .
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4648 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 12:10
tiompan wrote:
Sanctuary wrote:
Two questions for our experts. Is it possible to 'age' unrecorded rock art and at the same time differentiate between two distinct periods (age) of art on the same rock?


Roy , at the moment European rock art is dated by association and stylistically there is no technology like RC dating for dating although OSL (optically stimulated luminiscence ) provides hope .
Apart from the association and style it might be possible to differentiate the use of stone or metal for engraving ,whilst not absolute , i.e. the engraving could have been done with stone last week ,it could be helpful .


Thanks George. So broadly speaking is there a likely or definitive age it all kicked off and are purely cupmarked stones 'likely' to be of an earlier period to the more artistic ones?
tiompan
tiompan
5758 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 12:25
Sanctuary wrote:
tiompan wrote:
Sanctuary wrote:
Two questions for our experts. Is it possible to 'age' unrecorded rock art and at the same time differentiate between two distinct periods (age) of art on the same rock?


Roy , at the moment European rock art is dated by association and stylistically there is no technology like RC dating for dating although OSL (optically stimulated luminiscence ) provides hope .
Apart from the association and style it might be possible to differentiate the use of stone or metal for engraving ,whilst not absolute , i.e. the engraving could have been done with stone last week ,it could be helpful .


Thanks George. So broadly speaking is there a likely or definitive age it all kicked off and are purely cupmarked stones 'likely' to be of an earlier period to the more artistic ones?


Once again it's down to association the earliest date we have for a cup marked rock from a secure context in Britain is Dalladies long barrow 3240 BC .( there are cup marks in India that are probably Upper Paleolithic ) , although there are also worn engravings found in monuments from much the same period suggesting that they were old when re-used in the monumnet. It's possible to argue for a change in style as seen from engravings in the same passage grave but it would be unwise to suggest that cup marks necessarily predate or post date more complex markings .
Harryshill
510 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 12:37
It's possible then that they evolved to more complex patterns and then slowly (or not) reverted to a simpler style..

Isn't that what happened with arrow heads.. crude, building up to complex and then back to crude again.
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4648 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 13:52
Harryshill wrote:
It's possible then that they evolved to more complex patterns and then slowly (or not) reverted to a simpler style..



I've always believed that nobody did anything without good reason, so what the heck do cupmarks represent, do or say?
tiompan
tiompan
5758 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 14:03
Harryshill wrote:
It's possible then that they evolved to more complex patterns and then slowly (or not) reverted to a simpler style..

Isn't that what happened with arrow heads.. crude, building up to complex and then back to crude again.


Some of the most complex engravings are early e.g passage grave "art " , whilst much later in the Bronze Age you find funerary contexts with simple cup marks . Both styles would have been achievable to the engravers at any one time ,why one was chosen for a particular circumstance is the problem . It's worth mentioning that the more complex engravings tend to be found in less obvious /accessible situations e.g. passage graves , funerary contexts and when in the open air more likely to be on less conspicuous rocks e.g. flush with the ground bedrock , rather than prominent boulders .
tiompan
tiompan
5758 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 14:07
Sanctuary wrote:
Harryshill wrote:
It's possible then that they evolved to more complex patterns and then slowly (or not) reverted to a simpler style..



I've always believed that nobody did anything without good reason, so what the heck do cupmarks represent, do or say?




Good reason for them doesn't mean that you or I might be able to understand that reason . People do things every day in our communties /time /culture that we don't understand , even after they attempted to explain it .
Why should we expect to understand a silent voice so distant temporally and culturally ?
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4648 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 15:18
tiompan wrote:
Sanctuary wrote:
Harryshill wrote:
It's possible then that they evolved to more complex patterns and then slowly (or not) reverted to a simpler style..



I've always believed that nobody did anything without good reason, so what the heck do cupmarks represent, do or say?




Good reason for them doesn't mean that you or I might be able to understand that reason . People do things every day in our communties /time /culture that we don't understand , even after they attempted to explain it .
Why should we expect to understand a silent voice so distant temporally and culturally ?


So have you not 'moved on' in your understanding of them at all then George or are you still evaluating? Any speculative thoughts?
tiompan
tiompan
5758 posts

Re: How is Rock Art aged?
Dec 16, 2012, 17:39
Sanctuary wrote:
tiompan wrote:
Sanctuary wrote:
Harryshill wrote:
It's possible then that they evolved to more complex patterns and then slowly (or not) reverted to a simpler style..



I've always believed that nobody did anything without good reason, so what the heck do cupmarks represent, do or say?




Good reason for them doesn't mean that you or I might be able to understand that reason . People do things every day in our communties /time /culture that we don't understand , even after they attempted to explain it .
Why should we expect to understand a silent voice so distant temporally and culturally ?


So have you not 'moved on' in your understanding of them at all then George or are you still evaluating? Any speculative thoughts?


The brilliant J.Y. Simpson,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Young_Simpson
wrote " Archaic Sculpturings of cups, circles and . upon stone and rocks in Scotland, England and other countries." in 1867 , many would argue that it has not been bettered . Since then our understanding of other areas of archaeology has improved dramtically but not rock art , although plenty has been written since ,with most of the speculation lasting not much more than it takes to refute . There are some elements of a possible grammar that have been noted since Simpson e.g. the previously mentioned open access and less open styles or De Saulieu's art ostentatoire and art discret , funerary art has motifs rarely found outwith these contexts , some pasage grave may be associated with particular architectural features .etc .
Most people that I know that know anything about the subject are just happy to appreciate , contrast and compare the engravings and have a laugh .
The problem is that too often single simplistic explanations are suggested when the subject covers huge swathes of time ,cultures and geography and clearly has many different possible "explanations " .
I would speculate that in ninety years time there will still be books and articles claiming to know the "meaning " of the engravings and they will be instantly refuted .
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