Low visibility phenomena for chronometric dating
Recent research in North and South America, including improvements in chronometric techniques, has amplified our understanding of Terminal Pleistocene/early Holocene art.This demonstrates that it is more common than generally recognized, includes both portable and landscape (i.e., rock) art, and exhibits considerable geographical and stylistic variability.(Photo by Whitley.)At other Great Basin sites, outside the Cosos, the same motif assemblage typically occurs, although geometric designs commonly predominate.
In light of the varnish dating controversy and the uncertainties and misunderstandings that it generated, I discuss the current status of these two chronometric techniques before turning to the revised rock art chronology.Although rarely considered, early art has the potential to provide insight into questions that may be obscured by other kinds of evidence, particularly stone tools.What part did art play in the peopling of the Americas?Although we still do not know when humans arrived in the Americas, we can assume that they were fully capable of producing art, and potentially had the proclivity to do so.But what and where is the evidence for the earliest American art, and what does it tell us about the peopling of the hemisphere?
More confidently, there is a consensus that the initial immigrants where behaviorally modern, in the archaeological sense of these terms (e.g., ).