Study: New Guinea art older than thought

Oct 12, 2005

When San Francisco's de Young Museum reopens Saturday, it will debut the world's largest collection of New Guinea art -- some pieces 100 generations old.

Gregory Hodgins and A.J. Timothy Jull of the University of Arizona radiocarbon dated some of the collection that New York-based entrepreneur John Friede and his wife, Marcia, are giving the de Young Museum.

Two years ago, Friede asked UA scientists to date some collection pieces at the university's National Science Foundation-Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry facility in Tucson.

Results of the dating project are preliminary, but the findings have stunned museum curators and anthropologists.

The scientists' findings challenge previous assumptions that such objects are inherently ephemeral, perhaps surviving only a few generations.

Of the objects dated, 78 contain wood that pre-dates the 18th century and 33 contain wood from before 1670.

"A small percentage of this collection are pieces that are very old -- 600, 700, 800 years and older," Hodgins said.

The oldest mask in the collection is dated at between 660 and 860, implying a few of the objects were in use for more than 50 generations -- and perhaps up to 100 generations.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Invention loves collaboration at Milan show

Apr 14, 2014

Collaboration drove invention during Milan's annual International Furniture Show and collateral design week events, yielding the promise of homes without mobile phone chargers, and with more ergonomic seating, ...

Fermi data tantalize with new clues to dark matter

Apr 03, 2014

(Phys.org) —A new study of gamma-ray light from the center of our galaxy makes the strongest case to date that some of this emission may arise from dark matter, an unknown substance making up most of the ...

Simple, like a neutron star

Mar 25, 2014

For astrophysicists neutron stars are extremely complex astronomical objects. Research conducted with the collaboration of SISSA and published in the journal Physical Review Letters demonstrates that in cer ...

Recommended for you

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

1 hour ago

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.