People and Fish: Late Holocene rock art at Wulk Lagoon, Arnhem Land

Daryl Wesley, Tristen Jones, Rose Whitau

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Taçon and Brockwell (1995) made an important contribution to the study of Arnhem Land archaeology by showing that, in combining rock art with environmental change, archaeological sequences and artefact assemblages, a multi-disciplinary synthesis for a regional archaeological narrative could be achieved. A similar approach was taken by David and Lourandos (1998) in an overview of rock art and archaeology in Cape York Peninsula, northern Queensland. This chapter proposes to examine the rock art of the Wulk Lagoon area, northwestern Arnhem Land, by using approaches discussed by Taçon and Brockwell (1995) and David and Lourandos (1998) to analyse rock art, with a methodology that includes reference to environment, ecology and climate change along with local archaeological sequences from excavated rockshelters. The late Holocene archaeological record of Arnhem Land is abundant, owing to high levels of Aboriginal occupation around the extensive wetlands and on the Arnhem Land plateau. Investigations of stone artefact assemblages in Australia have utilised approaches such as manufacturing technologies and proliferation events apparently linked to El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and subsequent responses to risk in a context of environmental change
    (see Attenbrow et al. 2009; Clarkson 2002, 2007; Hiscock 2002, 2008, 2011; Hiscock and Attenbrow 1998, 2005; Lamb and Clarkson 2005; Veth et al. 2011). Residential mobility has also been assessed through characteristics such as the diversity and abundance of cultural materials in archaeological assemblages (see
    Andrefsky 2005, 2009; Kintigh 1984, 1989; Thomas 1973, 1989). In our case, here we try to understand Aboriginal occupation and behaviour in the Wulk Lagoon area, on the East Alligator River, over the past 1500 years via the distribution of its rock art (Figure 2.1).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia
    PublisherANU Press
    Number of pages30
    ISBN (Print)9781760461614
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Rock art
    • late Holocene
    • Wulk Lagoon


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