Using radiocarbon dating of 27 nests of mud wasps, collected from more and less than 16 similar paintings, it has been found that the rock art that represents the kangaroo that you can see at the head of this entry is the oldest art found in Australia
According to the study that details it , published in Nature Human Behavior , and carried out by researchers at the University of Melbourne, the painting has been located between 17,100 and 17,500 years ago.
The kangaroo is painted on the sloping roof of a rock shelter on the Unghango clan estate in Balanggarra country, on the Drysdale River in the north-eastern Kimberley region of Western Australia. As postdoctoral researcher Dr. Damien Finch , who pioneered the exciting new radiocarbon technique, explains:
We can never know what was on the artist’s mind when he painted this work more than 600 generations ago, but we do know that the naturalistic period dates back to the Last Ice Age, so the environment was cooler and drier than today.
The next step for researchers is to date more hornet nests in contact with this and other styles of Kimberley rock art to establish, more precisely, when each art period developed, when it began, and when it ended .