Australian aboriginal rock art discovered

Aboriginal rock art, WollemiFrom ABC (Australia):

Scientists discover new Aboriginal rock art site

Aboriginal rock art and artefacts that are thousands of years old have been discovered by a group of Queensland researchers.

The discovery was made in the Wollemi National Park, 100 kilometres north-west of Sydney in New South Wales, by a team from Griffith University.

The relics include an axe from the Stone Age and the researchers say some of the items are more than 4,000 years old.

Professor Paul Tacon says it is a major archaeological find.

“We were absolutely over the moon when we found all of these amazing sites in Wollemi National Park,” he said.

“This is the largest engraving site in the whole of the greater Blue Mountains or heritage areas and it’s got wonderful life-size depictions of animals and ancestral beings and human figures.”

Cuts in government funding threaten Wollemi art research.

Inside a large cave in northwestern Australia’s remote Kimberley region, someone painted an elongated, yamlike shape on a ceiling at least 16,000 years ago, new research suggests. That long-ago creation in the unnamed cavern adds fuel to the argument that rock art in Australia goes back even earlier to the continent’s first inhabitants, researchers contend: here.

Ancient Australian rock art threatened: here.

Wollemi pines and forest fires: here.

Australia: 1804 Irish convicts uprising.

4 thoughts on “Australian aboriginal rock art discovered

  1. Wollemi find an Aboriginal seat of the gods

    James Woodford
    April 21, 2007

    A ROCK platform in the heart of the Wollemi wilderness may be the closest thing Australia has to Mount Olympus, the seat of the gods in Greek mythology.

    Last spring archaeologists discovered an enormous slab of sandstone, 100 metres long and 50 metres wide, in the 500,000-hectare Wollemi National Park. It was covered in ancient art.

    The gallery depicted an unprecedented collection of powerful ancestral beings from Aboriginal mythology.

    Last week the archaeologists who found the platform, Dr Matthew Kelleher and Michael Jackson, returned with a rock art expert from Griffith University, Professor Paul Tacon, a Blue Mountains-based archaeologist, Wayne Brennan, and several of their colleagues. Two senior members of the Aboriginal community – a Darkinjung sites officer, Dave Pross, and a Central Australian artist, Rodger Shannon-Uluru – and the Herald joined the expedition.

    For most of the day the engravings are almost invisible. In the low light of dawn and dusk the images are briefly revealed.

    The team had five days to document 42 figurative motifs, and by the first evening Professor Tacon, Mr Brennan and Dr Kelleher had recognised a gathering of the gods. The supreme being Baiame and his son Daramulan were both there. Near them is an evil and powerful club-footed being, infamous for eating children.

    Several ancestral emu women and perhaps the most visually powerful of the images – an eagle man in various incarnations – are also depicted.

    “The site is the Aboriginal equivalent of the palace on Mount Olympus where the Olympians, the 12 immortals of ancient Greece, were believed to have lived,” Professor Tacon said.

    “This is the most amazing rock engraving site in the whole of south-eastern Australia.”

    Even in famous rock art regions in the north it is extremely rare to see big gatherings of ancestral beings depicted together, he said.

    It is almost impossible to imagine how humans could travel through, let alone survive in, the Wollemi. It is dissected by deep canyons and in places almost impassable.

    And yet the archaeologists have found hundreds of sites in the past five years. It seems almost certain that the engravings are part of a much larger network of songlines and stories, the full meaning of which is all but lost.

    Pross was struck by the complexity of the tale that the drawings must once have told.

    “They reckon we didn’t have written language,” he said.

    “We didn’t have a, b, c, d but we had a written language in these engravings. They would have been able to read from site to site to site.”

    In many cases the figures seem to point to other important geographical features or major cultural sites, and possibly to patterns in the stars.

    The team also found evidence of everyday existence, such as rock shelters that still bear signs of their occupants – hand stencils, a partial stone axe head, flakes from stone tools and at the back of a cave timber that could only have been stacked by a person.

    “The only thing we haven’t found out here is a living community,” Dr Kelleher said.


  2. Pingback: Timor cave may reveal how humans reached Australia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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