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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Experts put date to UK rock art
Overmarkings trace rock-engraved art at Creswell Craggs (Sergio Ripoll)
The art was probably made by Ice-Age hunter-gatherers
Experts have dated the UK's oldest rock art, at Creswell Crags in the midlands, to more than 12,800 years ago.

A team from Bristol, Sheffield and Open Universities got the date by measuring traces of radioactive uranium in limestone crusts over the engravings.

More than 80 pictures have now been discovered in the caves on the Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border.

The research is to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.


The complex of caves at Creswell Crags has preserved evidence of human activity during the last Ice Age.

Archaeologists announced the discovery of the engravings, on the walls and ceilings of the caves, in 2003.

The pictures depict animals such as the European bison, which is now extinct from Britain, and other figures.

Artefacts left by Ice Age hunter-gatherers excavated from Creswell's caves have been dated to 13,000-15,000 years old.

The new results indicate the art may have been left by the people who made these artefacts.

Cave art museum gets major grant
10 Jan 05 |  Derbyshire
'Sistine Chapel of the Ice Age'
13 Jul 04 |  Nottinghamshire
Britain's 'earliest' prehistoric cave art
16 Jun 03 |  Science/Nature

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