Oldest Rock Art in North America Found

At least 10,500 years old

Adam Roy

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A group of petroglyphs discovered at Nevada’s dried-up Winnemucca Lake is the oldest known rock art in North America, according to new research. A team including researchers from the University of Colorado estimated the age of the petroglyphs by dating layers of carbonate under and over the petroglyphs deposited by rising and falling lake waters. According to the team’s research, the drawings are between 10,500 and 14,800 years old.

“Prior to our study, archeologists had suggested these petroglyphs were extremely old,” said Larry Benson of CU Boulder. “Whether they turn out to be as old as 14,800 years old or as recent as 10,500 years ago, they are still the oldest petroglyphs that have been dated in North America.” According to Discovery, the geometric carvings displace the previous record-holder, a set of glyphs at Long Lake, Oregon, that are at least 6,700 years old.

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