Carbon dating cave paintings
The World Heritage site of Chauvet Cave in southern France is famous—and a source of both wonder and controversy—for having the world’s oldest cave paintings.When the cave was discovered in 1994, many scholars initially assumed that they must have been made around the same time as those at Lascaux, around 21,000 years ago.Instead, a less sophisticated method that would deceive TL testing is to reuse original broken and unmarketable pieces.Forgers commonly use the bottom of an original broken vessel, which has no commercial value, and make a new fake vessel on top of it.Australia is blessed with many beautiful examples of Aboriginal cave paintings and engravings but what does science tell us about how old they are?
The exact purpose of the Paleolithic cave paintings is not known.
Some theories hold that cave paintings may have been a way of communicating with others, while other theories ascribe a religious or ceremonial purpose to them.
The paintings are remarkably similar around the world, with animals being common subjects that give the most impressive images.
Thermoluminescence dating is generally not very accurate.
The accuracy of thermoluminescence dating is only about 15% for a single sample and 7 to 10% for a suite of samples in a single context.