Cave art in Wales said Britain's earliest
Bristol - UPI
Archaeologists say an engraving of a reindeer on a cave wall in Wales is at least 14,500 years old, making it the oldest known rock art in the British Isles.
The engraving was discovered in 2010 by archaeologist George Nash from the University of Bristol in the Cathole Cave, a limestone cave in an inland valley on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales.
Carved into limestone, the stylized reindeer measures approximately 4 inches by 6 inches and was carved using a sharp-pointed tool, likely made of flint, by an artist using the right hand, a Bristol release said Friday.
Initial samples from the surface containing the engraving were subjected to uranium dating and revealed a minimum age of 12,572 years, but a new sample taken in June 2011 revealed a minimum age of 14,505 years, plus or minus 560 years, researchers said.
"The earlier date is comparable with uranium-series dating of flowstone that covers engraved figures within Church Hole Cave at Creswell along the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border," Nash said. "However, the new minimum date of 14,505 plus or minus 560 years BP (before present) makes the engraved reindeer in South Wales the oldest rock art in the British Isles, if not Northwestern Europe."