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According to Oppenheimer, modern humans first began arriving in Australia from islands across the Timor Sea during the Middle Paleolithic era, between 70,000 and 60,000 BCE.

Evidence of the ancient art (if any) of this first wave of aboriginal settlers is extremely scarce, but there are signs of pigment usage which suggest that they began painting almost immediately, although this might have been face or body painting rather than rock painting.

Follow the links below to learn more about radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon dating uses carbon isotopes A special kind of radiocarbon dating: Bomb radiocarbon dating What is an isotope?

To understand radiocarbon dating, you first have to understand the word Although an element’s number of protons cannot change, the number of neutrons can vary slightly from each atom.

The carbon 14 present in an organism at the time of its death decays at a steady rate, and so the age of the remains can be calculated from the amount of carbon 14 that is left. The cells of all living things contain carbon atoms that they take in from their environment.

Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.

Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12.

He assumed that the change in styles was an evolutionary one, and, if you could quantify that change, he surmised it might be used to indicate which cemeteries were older than others.

Petrie's notions about Egyptology, and archaeology in general, were revolutionary.

His worrying about where a pot came from and what period it dated to and what that meant to the other objects buried with it were light-years away from the ideas represented in this photo dated to 1800, in which "Egyptian pots" was considered enough information for the thinking man.

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