In Central Portugal the largely virgin, blooming district of Foz Côa was almost sacrificed to a gigantic dam project, beside other reasons, because the obviously Upper Palaeolithic engravings (Züchner 1995b) had been “scientifically dated” (Baptista 1999) to only a few decades, centuries or at best a few millennia old.This meant that they were not worth being preserved as World Heritage.The question about the “correct” dating and the reliability of scientific and archaeological methods can certainly have deep impacts that are not only of academic importance. 100 years of archaeological investigation are thus portrayed as being made in vain because of some radiocarbon data.If we accept that similar situations may be repeated at any time, this renders comparisons based on forms and types senseless regardless of whether they belong to paintings, pottery, bronzes or other artifacts.However, we are not going to deal with the Chauvet Cave itself but instead discuss which archaeological methods are apt for determination of the age of Palaeolithic rock art.
2001 Extended version of a communication presented during the 42.
Jean Clottes, for example, after initial calls for archaeological and scientific results being thoroughly weighed against each other (Clottes 1997), has been swayed by the radiocarbon dates which have convinced him that the art of Chauvet Cave is of Aurignacian origin (Clottes . But all the facts suggest that the cave was decorated during a longer period of time spanning from the Gravettian to the Middle Magdalenian (Züchner 1995a, 1999).
If there are not any radiometric dates available as in Lascaux, Trois Frères and many other caves, the same authors assign them without any comment to certain cultural periods that were determined using the classic methods (e.g. The present author is of the opinion that scientific dating is only one of several methods that must be compared critically with others.
Following the 2” was published (Lorblanchet & Bahn 1993).
Where this way is actually leading now and we will be in future is still a contentious issue (Cacho Toca & Gálvez Lavín 1999; González Sainz 1999; Lorblanchet & Bahn 1999).