Blog 4: Barking Owl Field Camp (Day 8-16)
With helicopter pilot Nick Sundblom on board, suddenly our commute to work has got a whole lot quicker. Sites that would normally take us up to 3 hours to walk to can be reached in 5 minutes! This maximises our efficiency in sample collecting as well as providing a bird’s eye overview of the geology of the rock shelters.
Filmmaker Mark Jones has joined us. He will capture our research for RAA to showcase at events to encourage supporters to fund our ‘globally important’ and ‘ground-breaking’ research! Mark is a great addition to the camp. We really enjoyed his company and look forward to seeing the final product. He also gave Jordy and me two cans of cold ginger beer each, so he pretty much became our hero for the entire week.
The ANSTO-Wollongong University (multi national) research team arrived on day nine: David Fink, Reka Furlop, Tibi Codilean and Gael Cazes will work on cosmogenic radionuclide dating to reconstruct the geomorphology of rock shelters; work which will provide a really important context for the samples collected from the art panels.
Dating Technique 3: Cosmogenic radionuclide dating: Cosmogenic dating works on the principle that Earth is constantly bombarded with cosmic rays. When a large slab of rock falls from a rock shelter the broken surface is freshly exposed to these cosmic rays. The slab fall may reveal a panel on which rock art has later been painted. David Fink’s team can measure the concentration of the cosmogenic nuclides accumulated in this rock slab to estimate how long it has been since the fall. This provides a maximum age for any art subsequently painted on the associated panel.
It was incredible to have the opportunity work with such a range of experts out together in the field, striving towards a common goal and sharing ideas. Affectionately nicknamed the ‘cosmonauts’ we admired their tight team work and high motivation to make the most of their relatively short trip; and secretly envy their ability to stay up way into the night discussing their results 😉