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The same applies to archeological sites, containing rock art like cupules, petroglyphs, pictographs and other prehistoric works.

Only recently (2012), we have seen the chronology of Paleolithic art and culture changed completely by Uranium/Thorium dating tests on the cave art of El Castillo and Altamira.

In addition, it seems likely that Aboriginal rock art in Australia will also - in the not too distant future - be discovered to be much older than presently thought.

Thus much of the finest African art and primitive "tribal art" as well as aboriginal "Oceanic art" from the Paleolithic world, are already lost to us.

NOTE: One miraculous discovery occurred in 1890, in a peat bog near Sverdlovsk in the Urals, where archeologists found the Shigir Idol (7,500 BCE), the oldest surving example of wood carving.

Please note that any compilation of Stone Age art is bound to be both selective and subject to revision as new archeological discoveries are made.

Furthermore, despite the widening range of archeological dating techniques - such as radiometric carbon dating, Uranium/Thorium and thermo-luminescence dating - not every work of art can be dated with great accuracy if the geological environment lacks important measurable elements.

This relies on the fact that a number of radioactive isotopes (like uranium) are known to decay into daughter products at a known constant rate.

Probably the best known example of radiometric testing of living organisms, that may have been found at the site, is carbon-14 (radiocarbon) dating, which relies on Carbon-14 absorption. Pike at the caves of El Castillo and Altamira is known as Uranium/Thorium dating.

The first Near East civilizations (Minoan, Mycenean) appear. From about 400 BCE - as Greek art begins to dazzle - we leave prehistory and enter great era of Classical Antiquity characterized by Greek sculpture and Greek Pottery and the more sobre style of Roman art.

Trade flourishes around the Mediterranean, leading to exchange of artistic techniques and materials. Early Chinese Pottery also flourished, as did the art of India.

For a sculptural masterpiece from the late Neolithic of southern Europe, see the terracotta sculpture known as The Thinker of Cernavoda (c.5000 BCE, National Museum of Romanian History, Bucharest).

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