Types of radiometric dating methods
This type of Stone Age art is traditionally divided into two main categories: (1) Petroglyphs: meaning, rock engravings or carvings; this category also includes works of prehistoric sculpture that are part of the rocks themselves (known as parietal art), such as relief sculpture. While these petroglyphs and pictographs have been found on the walls of caves, or on exposed outdoor sections of rock, in practice, the earliest art of Europe was created in subterranean caves, while in (say) Northern Africa it is found mostly on the surface of the ground.
A third, smaller category of rock art is associated with Megaliths or Petroforms, involving the arrangement of stones to create a type of monument (eg. Petroglyphs are generally made by removing the surface of the rock, by carving, scratching, drilling, or sculpting.
After all, Rock art traditionally includes a wide variety of man-made markings, such as those created to mark/map territory (geocontourglyphs), pictorialize the stars, record events, or illustrate myths and other rituals.
Dating this ancient art can be a very difficult process, often involving radiometric and thermoluminescence methods.
Other creatures portrayed, included: lions, mammoths, wolves, foxes, hares, hyenas, fish, reptiles, and birds.Indeed, they are still used in tribal art and in some non-literate cultures in Africa, South and Central America, and Oceania.Arguably, the most important pictographs are the Magdalenian-period Lascaux Cave Paintings (c.17,000 BCE) in the Dordogne region of France, and the Altamira Cave Paintings (c.15,000 BCE) in Spain - the "Sistine Chapel" of Stone Age painting.Establishing the chronology of extremely old works from the Lower Paleolithic Era (2,500,000 - 200,000 BCE) is even more difficult, not least because it is often almost impossible to establish that certain marks are "man-made".With that in mind, experts believe that the earliest recorded rock art is the Bhimbetka petroglyphs - a series of 10 cupules and an engraving, which were uncovered during the 1990s in a quartzite rock shelter at Bhimbetka in central India. (2) MESOLITHIC ERA --- c.10,000 - 4,000 BCE: Northern and Western Europe --- c.10,000 - 7,000 BCE: Southeast Europe --- c.10,000 - 8,000 BCE: Middle East & Rest of World (3) NEOLITHIC ERA --- c.4,000 - 2,000 BCE: Northern and Western Europe --- c.7,000 - 2,000 BCE: Southeast Europe --- c.8,000 - 2,000 BCE: Middle East & Rest of World Xianrendong Cave Pottery (c.18,000 BCE) World's most ancient pottery, discovered in northeastern Jiangxi Province in southeast China.