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The Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria is a group that promotes the study of archaeology, anthropology, ethno-archaeology and ethno-history in both Australia and further abroad. Lectures, from a range of talented presenters, are held every third Thursday of the month at 6:30pm at the The Kathleen Syme Library & Community Centre – 251 Faraday St, Carlton.
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Upcoming AGM & Lecture: **presented via Zoom – Members Only**

(Members: Check your email, non-members: contact aasvmembership@gmail.com to enquire/join)

Thursday 19th of November, 2020, @ 6.30pm

Using radiocarbon dated mud wasp nests to estimate the age of Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley

Presented by Damien Finch
PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne

Throughout the world, the dating of ancient rock art has been a largely intractable scientific problem, except in rare cases. The globally significant Aboriginal rock art in the Kimberley region of Western Australia has long been thought to extend back to the Pleistocene period, over 11,000 years ago, in a sequence of stylistic periods, however, there was very little scientific evidence to support this hypothesis. Enhanced radiocarbon dating techniques have been developed to date mud wasp nests found to under or overlie rock art. The wasp nest ages serve to constrain the age of individual paintings. This presentation will describe these new methods and the resulting ages estimated for the oldest styles of painted Kimberley rock art.

Biography
Following a bushwalking trip to remote parts of the Kimberley in 2010, Damien became intrigued in the ancient history of northern Australia. This curiosity led to studies in the Masters of Archaeological Science program at ANU in 2012/13 with a focus on rock art and geochronology. Surprised at how little was known about the age of Aboriginal rock art, he developed a PhD project proposal to further research radiocarbon dating techniques for this purpose. In late 2014, he joined the Kimberley Rock Art Dating Australian Research Council project, led by the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He has recently submitted his PhD thesis.


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