An Analysis of Motif Clusters at the Nanguluwurr Rock Art Site, Kakadu National Park, N. T. Australia

John A. Hayward, Sally K. May, Joakim Goldhahn, Andrea Jalandoni, Paul S. C. Taçon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

During recent detailed recording of Nanguluwurr, a rock art site that is part of the Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) complex of cultural sites in Kakadu National Park, Australia, the data showed discrete clusters of specific motif types distributed throughout the length of the gallery. This paper focuses on the spatial distribution of the main motif clusters depicting spirit figures, material culture, fish, and painted hand and forearm motifs in order to understand the significance of these clusters within the site and the significance of Nanguluwurr as part of a wider complex of cultural sites. We consider the concept of these motif groupings as “meaning clusters,” as well as their chronological sequence, and discuss the possibility that they are the result of bursts of painting activity that occurred during the long history of the site manifest through depictions of ancient Dynamic Figures to the recent painting of X-ray fish.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2021

Keywords

  • Burrungkuy
  • Holocene
  • X-ray
  • clustering
  • material culture
  • rock art
  • spirit figures

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