Painting history: Indigenous observations and depictions of the 'other' in northwestern Arnhem Land, Australia

Sally May, Paul Tacon, Daryl Wesley, Meg Travers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In this paper we focus on contact rock paintings from three sites in northwestern Arnhem Land, Australia. In doing so we highlight that such sites provide some of the only contemporary Indigenous accounts of cross-cultural encounters that took place across northern Australia through the last 500 years. Importantly, they have the potential to inform us about the ongoing relationships that existed between different parties. The lack of research on contact rock art is emphasised and the development of a large-scale project (of which this fieldwork is part) aimed at addressing this problem is outlined. Important new findings for contact rock art are presented, including evidence for 'traditional' protocols relating to rock art continuing long after first contact, evidence for particular contact period subject matter dominating in art of this region, and the oldest date yet recorded for contact art in Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-65
    Number of pages9
    JournalAustralian Archaeology
    Volume71
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

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