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Ref ID: 37098
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Wu, Yun
Jiao, Yanuo
Ji, Xueping
Taçon, Paul S. C.
Yang, Zhijian
He, Siqi
Jin, Mangu
Li, Yinghua
Shao, Qingfeng
Title: High-precision U-series dating of the late Pleistocene – early Holocene rock paintings at Tiger Leaping Gorge, Jinsha River valley, southwestern China
Date: 2022
Source: Journal of Archaeological Science
DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2021.105535
Abstract: Paleolithic rock paintings are known from many parts of the world, including Africa, Australia, Europe and Island Southeast Asia. However, no Paleolithic rock paintings have yet been confirmed in the East Asia mainland, partly due to the lack of suitable dating materials. The rock paintings distributed at more than 70 sites in the Jinsha River valley, Yunnan Province, southwestern China, include the naturalistic outlines of large mammals, which superficially resemble the Magdalenian rock art in Europe. Wanrendong Cave in Tiger Leaping Gorge, has preserved typical Jinsha River rock paintings, associated with some precipitates of secondary carbonates (i.e., speleothem). High precision U-series dating of 13 small speleothems, with a total of 36 subsamples overlying or underlying the pigment layers, revealed that these red paintings were created during the Pleistocene – Holocene transition, representing the oldest absolutely dated rock paintings from China so far. Our results show that at least three painting phases in Wanrendong Cave can be precisely constrained: ∼13,000–13,580 yr B.P., ∼10,540–10,830 yr B.P., and ∼8370–8700 yr B.P. These intervals are substantially earlier than the timing of agriculture in Yunnan Province (∼4600 yr BP), indicating that these paintings were created by Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. Additionally, these intervals coincide with the Bølling-Allerød and early Holocene warming periods, suggesting a possible link between the rock painting activity and climate changes.
Volume: 138: 105535
Page Start: 1
Page End: 11