Radiocarbon dating charcoal
In the Kimberley region, the Bradshaws (now called Gwion figures) have been carbon-dated to at least 15,500 BCE, although they are believed to date as far back as 25,000-30,000 BCE.To compare Australian rock art with that of Africa, see the animal paintings on the Apollo 11 Cave Stones (c.25,500 BCE) in Namibia.(See also: Prehistoric Colour Palette.) These 'dynamic' figures, a derivation of Kimberley Bradshaws, are a feature of Paleolithic art in the Arnhem Land area.
For more, see: Prehistoric Art Timeline (from 2.5 million BCE).The ceiling, walls and pillars are covered with a spectacular collage of Aboriginal mural paintings, with traditional images of barramundi, crocodiles, kangaroos, wallabies, human and spiritual figures from the "Dreaming" - a real Sistine Chapel of prehistoric art.The floor of the shelter is covered with earth, a mixture of ash, silt, and broken rocks down to a depth of about 2 feet, which contains seven separate stratigraphic layers.It was therefore sent for analysis to the radiocarbon laboratory of New Zealand's University of Waikato, where a specialist analysis team led by Dr Fiona Petchey took scrapings of the charcoal which yielded the date of 26,000 BCE, placing it amongst some of the oldest art in the world.
For more, see also: Oldest Stone Age Art: Top 100 Works.
The Nawarla Gabarnmang cave art consists of a charcoal drawing made on a piece of rock, some 3 centimetres by 3 centimetres, that fell from the roof during prehistory.