Radiocarbon dating of ancient rock paintings Canl camda sex rulet
Instead of trying to date the paintings and engravings themselves, they are analysing carbonate deposits like stalactites and stalagmites that have formed over them.
This means they don't risk harming irreplaceable art, and provides a more detailed view of prehistoric cultures.
The technology isn't new - it was first developed in the mid-twentieth century, and is often used in areas like geology and geochemistry.
But successfully applying it to date cave art is a big leap in our understanding of human prehistory.
Before this, the only tool for dating the engravings was stylistic comparison with similar sites on the continent - a far less precise business.
It soon became clear that uranium series techniques could be useful at many other cave art sites.
Pike noticed that calcite deposits had formed over the engravings, and realised he could use uranium series dating to pinpoint when.
On the wall of a cave deep in the jungles of Borneo, there is an image of a thick-bodied, spindly-legged animal, drawn in reddish ocher. But it also is more than 40,000 years old, scientists reported on Wednesday, making this the oldest figurative art in the world.
Areas of thin calcite coatings can be seen at the top left and bottom middle, and small stalactites following cracks. "To get enough samples for three diagnostic dates at Cresswell Crags, two people had to scrape away for four days.
It's often difficult to get to the art, and we frequently find ourselves crawling through tiny fissures.
Better-known techniques like radiocarbon dating are of limited use in dating cave art.
Much of it isn't made with organic materials, but is simply carved into the rock, or painted with non-organic pigments like ochre.