Centre for Rock Art Research + Management

Kimberley

The bark paintings of the 1938 Petri/Frobenius Collection: Contexts and development of artistic practice in the Northwest Kimberley

(Painting of a Wandjina on pine board, collected by H. Petri in the northwest Kimberley. Photo: Anthropology Department, copyright Western Australian Museum, E10452)(Painting of a Wandjina on pine board, collected by H. Petri in the northwest Kimberley. Photo: Anthropology Department, copyright Western Australian Museum, E10452)

Investigators

This project is a continuation of the AIATSIS-funded work on the recorded bark paintings held in Perth and Frankfurt/Main (Germany). This project aims to place these bark paintings in their original context and analyse the imagery collaboratively with traditional owners and artists.

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Dating and Preserving Indigenous rock art, King George River, Northeast Kimberley

(Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)(Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)

Investigators

This is a project that was jointly funded by the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grant Scheme and the Vice-Chancellery of the University of Western Australia. The aims of this project were to produce a detailed record and subsequent analysis of the rock art at one particular location at the King George River, under the guidance of its Traditional Owner and to sample rock images or over/underlying materials for dating or compositional analyses. The 2011 fieldwork established the presence of a very complex and dense collection of rock art as well as Indigenous sites in the area. Most rock art sites exhibited multiple panels and painting episodes, which will allow the construction of a local chronology through stylistic differences, super impositions and differential weathering patterns. A surprising amount of styles and motifs was recorded , showing a range of animals, plants and mythical creatures as well as complex scenes, which possibly depict rituals, dresses, decorations and Indigenous material culture items. We extracted samples from three different rock art locations, which will hopefully enable the generation of uranium-series and/or radiocarbon dates from a series of laminations containing uranium-series isotopes and/or fossilized micro-organisms. The project is currently in its analysis phase.

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Images of Images: Applying digital recording technology in the management and visualization of Kimberley rock art

(Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)(Photo: Martin Porr; copyright UWA)

Investigators

The first fieldwork season for this project will be conducted in 2012. This project is a pilot study investigating the viability of a range of advanced digital recording and analysis technologies in the collaborative management and communication of Indigenous rock art. The project will look into how these technologies can play a role in navigating the issues of sensitively documenting and communicating Indigenous rock art. An aim of this project is the establishment of procedures, records and tolls to enable Traditional Owners to engage with rock art in new ways and at the same time staying in control of the level of access that is given to different interested parties.

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Lifeways of the first Australians

(Doing fieldwork in the Napier Range. Photo Jane Balme)(Doing fieldwork in the Napier Range. Photo Jane Balme)

Investigators

This ARC Linkage Project (linkage partner is the Kimberley Foundation) examines the archaeology of the Devonian limestone complex of the south central Kimberley. The region is of special significance because cave deposits contain organic materials such as fibre, plant remains, animal bones including decorative objects and ochre that document lifeways and the environment of the first Australians from well over 40,000 years ago. These caves also contain rock art that is being systematically documented and dated where possible to contribute information about the social context in which these people lived. The second fieldwork season commences in July this year.

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Rock Markings: How People Make Spaces Places

(Rock_Markings)(Richard Fullagar and Ken Mulvaney at a cupule site. Jinmium-Granilpi, Northern Territory, Australia. Photo: Sven Ouzman)

Investigators

‘Rock art’ is usually understood to consist of rock engravings (petroglyphs); rock paintings (pictographs) and landscape arrangements (geoglyphs). But there is also a hitherto under-researched category of ‘rock markings’ that offer insights into how people transform ‘spaces’ into humanised ‘places’. These markings include: abraded areas, cupules, incisions, grooves and the like that were not made for utilitarian purposes such as grinding foodstuffs. Rather, they are a visual residue of multi-sensorial interactions people have with places. These markings occur throughout the world, each with historically and socially specific meanings. My project focuses on rock markings in Australia’s Kimberley and in southern Africa and seeks to better integrate rock art with excavation-centric Archaeology.

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The Archaeology of Time: The Materiality, Temporality and Authorship of Rock Art in Northern Australia and Southern Africa over the last 100 000 years

(Hand_Stencil)(Hand and stencil and root growth, eastern Kimberley, Australia. Photo: Sven Ouzman)

  

Investigators

There is a lacuna in Archaeology's theorisation of time that produces misleading models of human origins and identity. Dating techniques mask this lacuna. Dating quantifies but does not explain human cultural continuity and change. Indigenous rock art is a visible, variable and theoretically informed artefact that can bridge this gap through an innovative investigation of the temporal dimensions of its manufacture and use. Australian and southern African rock art, including marked ochre and rock, stone arrangements, and some stone tools, can shift our understanding of human cognitive origins and colonisation of landscapes from unique 'events' to an ongoing rhythm of human innovation that continues to be relevant.

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 21 January, 2014 4:26 PM

http://uwa.edu.au/rock-art/2345040