Paleolithic antiquity of parietal art in Ignatievskaya cave, Southern Ural, is supported by its subject (Late Pleistocene animals) as well as by paleontological and palynological data, and 14C dates from cultural layers associated with artistic activity (17.8−16.3 cal ka BP; association is established by finds of ochre in these layers). However, three 14C dates of charcoal motifs yielded younger, Holocene ages (7.4−6.0 cal ka BP). In this study, we constrain the age of parietal art in the cave by 230Th dating of flowstone that brackets the paintings. Flowstone did not form in the cave between c. 78 and 10 ka BP, due to widespread permafrost in northern Eurasia at that time. Our 230Th dates do not support the middle Holocene age of art in Ignatievskaya cave and are consistent with its Upper Paleolithic antiquity instead.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank N. G. Erokhin for providing stalagmite IGN and the Museum of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology UB RAS (Ekaterinburg, Russia) for providing samples from cave sediments. This study was supported by FWF grants I027070 (YD) and ZFT700100 (GM). We appreciate the thorough and thoughtful comments of the two anonymous reviewers.
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- Th dating
- Paleolithic cave art