Current Rock Art Projects
The following are rock art projects that our associates are currently undertaking. For further information on these projects please contact the investigators directly.
Mirarr Rock Art Project (2011 - 2015)
Investigators: Dr. Sally K. May
PhD candidate: John Hayward
The Mirarr Rock Art Project aims to document rock art sites within Mirarr country and is a partnership between the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation and the Australian National University. The specific aims of this project are to:
- develop a rock art recording program on Mirarr land in consultation with the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, including but not limited to detailed program design, scope, personnel involved and identified outputs;
- establish a PhD scholarship of 3 years duration commencing in 2011/2012 on rock art in the Mirarr lands;
- conduct informal training during different periods of the project on rock art recording, documentation, survey, conservation and management and presentation; and
- deliver the rock art recording program whilst also providing ongoing mentoring and capacity-building wherever possible, to facilitate skills transfer to the Mirarr in all aspects of rock art recording.
Picturing Change: 21st century perspectives on recent Australian rock art (ARC Discovery Project)
Investigators: Prof. Paul S.C. Taçon (Griffith), Dr. Sally K. May (ANU), Dr. Alistair Paterson (UWA), and Dr. June Ross (UNE)
Research Assistant/s: Meg Travers (ANU) and Michelle Langley (Griffith University)
In this five year project (2007-2011) contact period rock art from across Australia is being documented, with fieldwork in western Arnhem Land (NT), Wollemi National Park (NSW) and central Australia, west of Alice Springs (NT). Working closely with Australian Aboriginal colleagues, we also are recording contemporary stories, oral history and significance for recent rock-art sites, especially those from the contact period. More generally, we are examining contact accounts and imagery from archaeological, archival, ethnographic, historical and material culture points of view.
Our aims include:
- Comprehensively documenting Australian contact rock art imagery and describing the contemporary Aboriginal significance of recent rock art generally and contact rock art in particular, along with stories/oral history associated with rock art sites;
- Examining the relationship of early contact imagery to both Aboriginal and European travel routes as well as particular resource or usage areas;
- Better articulating the nature of Aboriginal-European contact as the result of early scientific and exploration expeditions within different parts of Australia;
- Developing a model of rock art change from the contact period applicable to earlier periods of rock art change in Australia and in other parts of the world; exploring worldwide Indigenous artistic reactions to invasion/contact and the stylistic similarities of depictions of introduced species and foreigners;
- Conducting a survey of material culture and photographs associated with early expeditions; examining evidence of cross-cultural encounters through material culture and corresponding literature.
Baijini, Macassans, Balanda, and Bininj: Defining the Indigenous past of Arnhem Land through Culture Contact (ARC Linkage)
Chief Investigator: Prof. Sue O'Connor (ANU)
APAI Scholar: Mr Daryl Wesley
This three-year ARC Linkage project will undertake a community-based cultural heritage research program in the Wellington Range and Anuru Bay region of western Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. It will investigate changes that have occurred in Indigenous occupation of the Western Arnhem Land region in relation to contact with the mythological Baijini, the Macassans, and Europeans through the documentation and analysis of the unique rock art and archaeology of the region. The project also aims to implement innovative management frameworks that will provide Indigenous communities with opportunities to obtain national economic, social, and cultural benefits.
Daryl Guse has an APAI on this project and coordinated the projects first major field season in 2008. The Namunidjbuk estate has revealed an extensive cultural heritage legacy that illustrates the complexity of interaction between cultures in Arnhem Land from early contact with Indonesian maritime communities through to the more recent post World War II period. An aspect of the research is to investigate the timings and issues arising from Indonesian contact with northern Australian Indigenous communities. The evidence for this cultural contact is found in the coastal Macassan trepang industry sites and the rockshelters of the nearby inland sandstone ranges.
This page is currently under development. If you are undertaking a rock art-related project we would love to hear from you. Contact Us