Dating Palaeolithic cave art: Why U–Th is the way to go
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The chronology of European Upper Palaeolithic cave art is poorly known. Three chronometric techniques are commonly applicable: AMS 14C, TL and U–Th, and in recent years the efficacy of each has been the subject of considerable debate. We review here the use of the U–Th technique to date the formation of calcites that can be shown to have stratigraphic relationships to cave art. We focus particularly on two recent critiques of the method. By using specific examples from our own work using this method in Spain, we demonstrate how these critiques are highly flawed and hence misleading, and we argue that the U–Th dating of calcites is currently the most reliable of available chronometric techniques for dating cave art.