© George NashThis faint engraving depicts the antlers, torso and legs of a reindeer. It was found in 2010 in a cave on the Welsh Gower Peninsula.
A faint engraving of a reindeer in a South Wales cave looks to be among the oldest rock art known in Britain.
Researchers completed an analysis on July 27 that dated the image at roughly 12,600 years or older, putting it about on par with Britain's oldest known rock art.
The archeologist who discovered the engraving, George Nash, from the University of Bristol, said he believed it could be even older.
Nash discovered the engraving while visiting the cave with a group in September 2010. But dating - using a technique that looks at the decay of traces of radioactive uranium and thorium in the stalagmite crust deposited over the engraving - was only just completed.
The engraving's location is being kept secret to prevent vandalism, because the cave in which it is located is open to the public, said Nash, who also works with the environmental firm SLR consulting.
In 2003, the first British rock art from the Upper Paleolithic, which ended about 12,000 years ago, was discovered in Creswell Crags in England. A dating analysis put these engravings at roughly the same minimum age as Nash's more recent find. Rock art created since the end of the Upper Paleolithic is more common in Britain.