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Recent research in North and South America, including improvements in chronometric techniques, has amplified our understanding of Terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene art.This demonstrates that it is more common than generally recognized, includes both portable and landscape (i.e., rock) art, and exhibits considerable geographical and stylistic variability.Even with decades of research, basic questions like the earliest entry date and colonizing route remain elusive.Despite these uncertainties, the majority opinion currently seems to maintain that humans first arrived sometime prior to 13,000 years ago, though how much earlier is unknown (e.g., [1, 2]).These studies are summarized below with the intent of providing a hemisphere-wide overview of early symbolic behavior.My point of departure in this discussion is a chronometric reanalysis of Great Basin petroglyphs (rock engravings), directed specifically at identifying the earliest art in far western North America.

This demonstrates, conservatively, that the petroglyph tradition began before 11,100 YBP, probably before 12,600 YBP, and potentially in the 14,000 years range. The peopling of the Americas is both the oldest and most frequently researched question in American archaeology. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.It is believed to be the largest rock art concentration in the Americas, and perhaps one of the biggest in the world.The Coso corpus is also notable because of its emphasis on iconic or representational imagery (Figure 1), especially the bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), which constitutes roughly half of all of the engravings, based on Grant’s [13] tabulation.

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