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Dampier Rock Art

Dampier Rock Art

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Published by draculavanhelsing
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fact sheet

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: draculavanhelsing on Jul 22, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 i  d e  n t  i  f  y - c o n s  e  r v e - i  n t  e  r p  r e  t - d e  v e  l  o p 
 c a  l  l  f  o r s  u p  p  o r t 
Dampier Rock Art
At no stage in the history of the DampierArchipelago or the Burrup Peninsula hasa proper inventory or evaluation beenundertaken of the heritage values of the area.A large number of plans and strategieshave been and are still being developedfor industrial and tourist development of the region with little understanding of the heritage values or the impacts on thescientific values of this area.The Burrup alone possibly contains a millionpetroglyphs of which possibly 10,000 havealready been destroyed.The international heritage value is undersustained threat with the Government tryingto preserve 60% of the 100% it has put atrisk.The ancient standing stones at Avebury andStonehenge are both world heritage sites, arevenerated for their antiquity and mystique,and are major tourist sites. Yet they arearound a mere 4,500 years old.The Dampier Rock Art Precinct containsthe largest collection of standing stonesin Australia and the largest concentrationof rock ‘carvings’ in the world. They are between 6,000 and 20,000 years old. As theyremain under threat, the precinct has beenplaced on the World Monument Fund’s Listof 100 Most Endangered Places in the World.The National Trust of Australia (WA) and itspartners are working to remove the DampierRock Art Precinct from the 100 MostEndangered Places List.Since May 2006 a number of public forumshave been held in Perth and Karratha,Western Australia, Canberra in the AustralianCapital Territory and Sydney, New SouthWales. The aim of these forums was toincrease public awareness about this uniqueAustralian heritage asset.The Dampier Rock Art Precinct is underimminent threat. Woodside Petroleum hassought permission through section 18 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act (WA) 1972 todestroy or relocate rock art. In the mediathey have conceded that some rock art will be destroyed as part of the Pluto gas project.The National Trust has express greatdisappointment that these developmentsare preceding while we wait for thedetermination in September of the NationalHeritage Listing.
 The National Trust callsupon the political leaders toensure the heritage valuesare identified, conserved andinterpreted prior to any majordevelopment.
Key elements of a solution are;o open and transparent communicationwith all stakeholders;o comprehensive inventory of the rockart and archaeological sites of thearea;o the development of a single holisticmanagement plan and a means tomonitor the management of the placeto the satisfaction of all stakeholders;o dedicated fund to support themanagement process;o independent committee to overseethe implementation and evaluation of the management plan.The National Trust believes that a win/win solution is possible that will genuinelyreconcile the competing interests of industrial development and the undoubtedworld heritage significances of this placeFOR FURTHER REFERENCE:
 AURANET - Welcome to the Homepageof the Australian Rock Art Research Association, Inc.
The National Trust of Australia (WA)
http://www.heritagewa.org.au/places/ burrup2/
Heritage notices, Nominations,assessments and listings numbers:105727 and 105711
http://deh.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/heritage_ ap.pl
The Burrup Peninsula The Dampier Rock Art Precinct – Transcripts of forum proceedings
ICOMOS Heritage at Risk, Case Study 2:The Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga) on thenorth-west coast of the Pilbara,Western Australia
Save Dampier rock art
Burrup and Maitland Industrial Estates Agreement Implementation Deed (January 2003)
The Great Outdoors
Woodside Energy and the Burrup
Dampier Rock Art
The world’s largest rock art assemblagecontained within the Dampier Archipelagocontinues to be under threat and remains asAustralia’s only site on the
World MonumentsFund 
top 100 world endangered heritagesites.The Dampier Rock Art Precinct is comprisedof 42 islands, islets and rocks in a 45kmradius that make up Dampier Archipelago.These are located in a remote area of thenorth-west of Australia, off the coast from theTown of Karratha, Western Australia.The Islands that make up the Dampier RockArt Precinct are formed from a recentlydrowned landmass, the shorelines of whichstabilised about 6000 years ago. The BurrupPeninsula, approximately 27km long and5km wide, was originally an island thatformed part of this grouping until joined tothe mainland in the mid 1960’s by a rail androad causeway.There is currently no complete inventory orunderstanding of the heritage and relativevalues of the area, yet industrial developmentis being actively promoted and encouraged bythe State Government.
The Heritage values ofthe Dampier Rock ArtPrecinct
It is considered that Australia was one of thelast continents to be inhabited by humans;this is believed to have occurred between40,000 and 60,000 years ago.It is also thought by many that the DampierRock Art Precinct may have been settledduring these early times, there is certainlyevidence from surrounding sites in thehinterland and on the Montebello Islands(originally part of the mainland) that therewas habitation at least 27,000 years ago.There is also evidence of trade in the areaduring this the Pleistocene period.The carvings that are the cultural landscapeon the Burrup and throughout Dampier RockArt Precinct may date back many thousandsof years, unfortunately there are notechniques available at this time to be able toaccurately date the symbols and art created by the removal of rock.Estimates of the inhabitation and cultural artrange from 3,800 years old from a carvingfound beneath a shell midden to at least 7,000years ago from the dating of a known shellfishgatherers sites. It is generally accepted that therock art dates back greater than 6,000 years of age and probably much older.The “archaic faces” possibly document linkswith an art and ritual tradition dispersedwidely across the north and centre of thecontinent, occurring almost always in remotevalleys in impressive ranges (the ClelandHills, the Calvert Ranges, the Durba Hills)well before the drying of Australia beforeat least the last glacial maximum at 20,000years ago.These engravings document an extensivehistory of human ritual and artisticendeavour, including what may well besome of the earliest art remaining extanton the planet. The likelihood is that initialpopulation numbers would be low and quitemobile, so it is expected that there will bevery few of these very earliest engravingsthroughout Australia.
 The Burrup (Murujuga or Puratha) inWestern Australia’s North West is thelargest of the islands that made up theDampier Archipelago. The Burrup is anarea of extreme heritage value and contains thelargest and most significant collections of petroglyph(rock art) galleries in the world.This area continues tobe under threat from inappropriate industrial zoning anddevelopment.
 Archaic Face, Robert Bednarik 1992Rock pile, Robin Chapple 2006

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