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Kakadu Rock Art

Kakadu Rock Art

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Published by draculavanhelsing
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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: draculavanhelsing on Aug 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Kakad contain one of the greatetconcentration of rock art ite inthe orld and contitte one of thelonget hitorical record of any gropof people.
Mabuyu at Ubirr is rom thereshwater period (dating rom 2000 years ago to thepresent)The contact period beganabout 300 years ago withMacassan visitors. This ship belonged to more recentarrivalsPainting continues onpaper, canvas and othercontemporary materials as well as bark
I orry abot that place…ecret place. That got painting there, inide cae. It gotto be looked after becae my father, grandad all look after. No me, I got to doame. If that painting get rbbed off there might be big troble. That importanttory. It for all rond thi area. That bigget tory… bigget place. My Grandpateach me. That painting i tre. Fih, python, gooe, all painting there. Fih…yo got to eat. Python… yo got to eat. Mllet… yo got to eat. Lily, trtle,all ame. They for yo. Fih… he liten. He ay “Oh, omebody there.”Him frightened, too many Toyota. Make me orry too. Thi tory iimportant. It on’t change, it i la. It i like thi earth, it on’t moe.Grond and rock… he can’t moe. Cae… he neer moe. No-one canhift that cae, becae it dream. It tory, it la.Thi tory… thi i tre tory. (Big Bill Neidjie, Bnidj Clan)
 A major international cultural resource, thesignicance o Kakadu’s art sites is recognisedin the park’s United Nations World Heritagelisting.Concentrated along the escarpment, ingorges, and on rock outliers, the art sitesare tangible evidence o the close personalrelationship o Aboriginal people with theirland and spiritual heritage.For Bininj/Mungguy many o the olderpaintings were done by spirit people. Theseorm a continuing link with traditional beliesabout how the landscape was ormed and Aboriginal laws were established.
Changing landscapes and art
Rock art is an important part o Aboriginal people’s lives. Mimi spirits were the rst o the Creation Ancestors to paint on rock. They taught some Aboriginal people how to paint and other Aboriginal people learned by copying Mimi art. At the end o their journeys, some Creation Ancestors put themselves onrock walls as paintings and became djang (Dreaming places). Some o thesepaintings are andjamun (sacred and dangerous) and can be seen only by seniormen or women; others can be seen by all people.
In Dreaming painting,e pecial paint, ochre, blood.Come back ith that feeling.Ceremony painting i not for eeryone to ee.Top bine yo can’t ee it.Go throgh yor bodyand gie yo knoledge, Dreaming.Yo might dream.Good one.
-Bill Neidjie, Bunidj clan, Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre
 Archaeological excavations in the Park have revealed some o the oldestoccupation sites ound in Australia. Archaeologists have dated these sites at50,000 years old using thermo luminescence methods.Experts dier about the age o the art but the most widely shared view isthat some o the paintings may be over 20 000 years old. Artistic styles have been studied and arranged into a sequence according to how they overlap on the rock. Ages o paintings in the sequence have beenestimated by comparing them with known climatic, palaeo-environmental andarchaeological events.The depiction o extinct animals, the presence o used ochre pieces dating  back 50,000 years and presence o silica coatings that orms over thousands o years in arid conditions, all contribute to the assessments o the age o the art.
PRE-EsTuARINE PERIOD, 50 000 – 8 000 BP
This was during the last ice age when the Earth was much cooler, had lessrainall and the sea level was about 150 metres lower than today. The northern Australian coastline was up to 300 km north o its present location and joinedto New Guinea. Kakadu was covered by the low open woodland and shrublandtypical o arid Australia today.The rst evidence o human occupation in Kakadu area is dated at 50 000BP.The rst rock art is thought to be the direct print o hands and objects, suchas bundles o grass, onto the rock.
20 000 BP
Large Naturalistic Style-naturalistic portrayals o animals, somenow extinct, like the animal thought to be a marsupial tapir ( 
 Palorchestes sp.)
15 000 BP
Simple Figures with Boomerang - humansshown as stick gures with largeheaddresses and pubic aprons.Northern Running Figures -small gures common in the northo Kakadu.Dynamic Style - intricate, highly ornamented gures in motion.
EsTuARINE PERIOD, 8 000 TO 2 000 BP
 Around 15 000 BP the earth began to warm and the sea level slowly rose,stabilising at its present position 6 000 years ago.The rising sea level drowned river valleys and silted up embankments.Mangrove swamps ormed on foodplains while urther inland open orest and woodland replaced low open woodland and shrubland. The climate was similar tothat o today.X-ray art began in the Estuarine Period. As the environment became moreproductive and more ood resources were available, Aboriginal populations andcultural diversity increased. This is refected in regional art styles, such asthe Northern Running Figures.
8 000 BP
 Yam Figure Style – images o yams incorporated into human orms.The Rainbow Serpent rst appears in Yam Style art and continuesto the present.Early x-ray – animals with simple x-ray eatures.
4 000 BP
 A variety o human gures occur alongsidex-ray paintings.Late x-ray – animals and humans withcomplex x-ray eatures. Southernx-ray art has ewer anatomicaldetails than northern x-ray art.
Sediment eventually choked out the mangroves and levee banks ormed along the edge o tidal rivers. This restricted the fow saltwater and allowed reshwaterfoodplains to develop. The x-ray art o this period depicts new resources like magpiegeese brought by the reshwater conditions.
2 000 BP
Magpie goose and human with goose-wing an and goose spears.
300 BP
– trade with Macassan shermen.
Gun, coastal lugger and Macassan knie (kris) amongst spears and spear thrower.
150 BP
– colonisation by humans
– man on horse
The knowledgeassociated withmany paintings oftenhas a number of levels.Younger people and balanda(non Aboriginal people) are toldthe rst level, known as the‘public story’. Access to the ‘fullstory’ depends on an individual’sprogression through ceremoniallife, their interest and theirwillingness to take on theresponsibilities that gowith that knowledge.

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