World History

Dating the Oldest Sites and Art

Petroglyphs in Utah.
These petroglyphs are in Utah.

Struggling to Find the Correct Dates

Murujuga: The Oldest Existing Art


Artistry Not Graffiti

Struggling to Find the Correct Dates

Until the geological ages are recalculated according to modern findings, we must struggle with dating inconsistencies between traditional geologic dating and Genesis dating. Perhaps they will never coincide.

There are very old skeletons, campsites, and tools scattered throughout the earth. Both human civilization theories acknowledge this evidence, although the dating will be different. The point is that flood theorists acknowledge there may have been items like these before the flood.

Some people have always been wanderers and adventurers, so the widespread geographical range of the items should not be a surprise, especially if there was only one continent.

By evolutionary theory and traditional understanding of ancient civilizations, humans at each site should progress from gatherers to hunter/fishers with campsites to primitive settlements for farmers of grains and livestock to towns of shared responsibilities to cities with established culture.

Flood theorists think that what is found at a particular site depends on when the people left the cradle of civilization. If they left before much was discovered, we can expect a hunter-fisher community. If they left later, we may see forms of architecture and artistry.

Murujuga: The Oldest Existing Art

Murujuga is the aboriginal name for Dampier Island, the Burrup peninsula, and the collection of islands around them in northwestern Australia.

This World Heritage Site is comprised of multiple sites and contains the only rock art with meaning for a living culture. This is stunning because we have people who know the meanings of the rocks and can explain their importance!

To the Ngurra-ra Ngarli, Murujuga is the place where everything is connected: plants and animals, land and sea, the Lore (rules of behavior) and the spiritual world.

All was made and is maintained by the Ancestor Beings called Marrga, who created it all during the Dreaming times (their term) when the world was soft. They were also the artists of the petroglyphs.

Traditional dating puts this art at more than 45,000 years B.C.

Flood theorists could easily accept this art as predating the flood. The rock is hard enough to have survived. But the original hard volcanic rock was shattered into pieces. How? Is this another result of the flood?

That brings up another question: Were the carvings created before the rock shattered (in which case the meaning could be quite different) or afterward?


Unfortunately, there are claims that as much as 24.4 per-cent of the rock art was destroyed by industry before the heritage site was protected.

There remains more than a million petroglyphs. These are carvings in rock made by a hammer stone and a chisel. This chips away the dark outer rock, exposing a lighter rock within. The act of carving gives depth to the art.

What did the artists carve? They carved the animals they knew including some that no longer exist such as the enormous flat-tailed kangaroo. The extinct Tasmanian tiger was much on their minds. It is seen everywhere. Nail-tailed wallabies and crocodiles still exist, but not in this part of Australia.

Geometric shapes were also carved.

There are carvings of human activity sometimes arranged in complex scenes of everyday living such as hunting, or special ceremonial activities

Hunting with an atlatl is depicted: a weapon with a sharp curve similar to the boomerang. It was better than the spear or arrow. Instead of using the arm’s strength alone, the atlatl extended the arm and enhanced the stroke power.

There is one odd petroglyph that defies explanation, according to a professional video of the site. The archaeologist describes it as a human like figure with horns and a forked tail. Not only is this reminiscent of European Middle Ages depictions of Satan, but this carving was done when there were no horned animals on Australia.

Artistry Not Graffiti

A variety of methods were used to create the art: abrading, pecking, pounding, rubbing, scoring, and scraping. Both naturalistic (clearly representing existing things in nature) and abstract styles were used. Static figures are abstract. Squatting, standing, and running persons are carved with serpentine arms. This could be additional indication of movement.

A person climbing is very unusual on petroglyphs. Face portraits are rare. Both exist at Murujuga!

What is awesome is not just the number of petroglyphs, but also that the volcanic rock into which they are carved is extremely hard! It is so inflexible that heat and cold crack it. It’s also why it could survive the flood.

What We Learn From Murujuga

With the help of the Ngurra-ra Ngarli, we know the meaning and purpose of many petroglyphs, things that will help us interpret later sites.

  1. Image groupings were intentional. They recorded how to live, how to conduct ceremonies, and acted as a school poster board for education (kinds of animals).
  2. The positioning of images were placed with intention. Very important petroglyphs were placed where they were easily seen.
  3. The carvings denoted people arriving from throughout Pilbara for trade, marriage, kinship, and use of resources.
  4. This happens to this day. Varying language groups can all use the petroglyphs to refresh their memories because the art conveys the information, words do not.
  5. Stories of the Dreaming are maintained and told by “special curators” (UNESCO’s term) using petroglyphs. This is very important because if other cultures had petroglyphs or petrographs (paintings) for reference, the accuracy value of cultural legends would skyrocket.
  6. The guardians are not given a priestly title indicating that they do not act as a pathway to the Ancestors, but as teachers who helps each person find the way.
  7. Songs and ceremonies go with many of the images.
  8. Because Murujuga is believed to be the center of all things, maintenance is critical because there is still spiritual power in the glyphs. The spiritual ceremonies connect today’s people to the spirit power of the petroglyphs and the Ancestors. The released power maintains the planet for all of us.

We can also make other observations.

Today’s people were found as a hunter-fisher culture despite the advanced past this art

suggests. The traditional civilization theory is debunked. Cultures can devolve.

Although the Ancestors did the work of gods, they are not addressed as such. Nor can I find a reference that indicates that they were worshipped.

There is no indication that they were aliens from another world or another dimension. It seems they were humans with an advanced civilization who shared secrets with the people. The people today do their part in maintaining the spiritual power.

Aliens or ancestors? Which is the most likely answer to worldwide puzzles of great architectural feats?

Remember the rule: the simplest answer is usually correct. That would be ancestors.

Flood theorists would point out that Noah lived a long life: long enough to learn all of his culture’s knowledge and skill. His sons and their wives would have learned much before entering the ark. These four men and their wives would have educated their children.

But people now lived shorter lives due to a hostile, dangerous world. They had less time to master all of the knowledge, so they began to specialize.

When the adventurers wandered away, specializing in survival, other skills were lost.

Further Reading:

Murujuga information:

Murujuga map and example of petroglyph

Photo credits:  dallasgolden@unsplash