Memorialization and the Stencilled Rock Art of Mirarr Country, Northern Australia

John A. Hayward, Iain G. Johnston, Sally K. May, Paul S.C. Taçon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the motivations for producing the rare object stencils found in the rock art of western Arnhem Land. We present evidence for 84 stencils recorded as part of the Mirarr Gunwarddebim project in western Arnhem Land, northern Australia. Ranging from boomerangs to dilly bags, armlets and spearthrowers, this assemblage suggests something other than a common or ongoing culture practice of stencilling objects used in everyday life. Instead, we suggest that these stencils represent an entirely different function in rock art through a process of memorialization that was rare, opportunistic and highly selective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-378
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Early online date15 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • stencilled rock art
  • western Arnhem Land
  • Mirarr Gunwarddebim project
  • memorialization


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