Understanding through scientific research and Aboriginal knowledge the history of human habitation in Australia

Insights from the Dating Team

Coming to grips with the rock art and landscape evolution

RAA virtual event held on 29 September ’21. Prof Andy Gleadow, Chair of RAA’s Science Advisory Council and leader of the Rock Art Dating Project talks to Prof Bruno David about the remarkable geomorphic findings from a cave excavation, and to Dr Helen Green and Dr Damien Finch about their research and aims, and most exciting discoveries.

The panelists mention numerous dates. Dr Damien Finch’s radiocarbon dates on mud wasp nests associated with some 21 different Gwion motifs from many rock shelters show a consistent pattern with a culmination around 12,000 years, although some could be older than 16,000 years.  There are also many other dates associated with other styles, especially the ‘Irregular Infill Animal Period’ that confirm that the IIAP paintings are consistently older than the Gwion figures. We have shared with you in an earlier E-News the one very robustly dated Kangaroo that is 17,300 years old.   Over the past 7 years the scientists have learned that it can be remarkably difficult to be completely certain about the relationship of a measurable material such as a wasp nest and the art they are trying to date. At Rock Art Australia we have always been clear that we need lots of dates from lots of sites to be able to say – ‘here’s the evidence’ – and that is what the Rock Art Dating Project is working to achieve.

The panelists mention numerous publications. Access to research papers is via the RAA website.  For more information about the work Dr Helen Green is work click here to read the news article. To download the paper relating to the research by Prof Bruno David click here.

WATCH EVENTWASP NEST DATINGGLAZES & ROCK ARTROCK ART SITES & THE OLD PEOPLE

LATEST NEWS

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Light and shade: how the natural ‘glazes’ on the walls of Kimberley rock shelters help reveal the world the artists lived in

14 August 2021
Published in The Conversation 14/08/2021 The Kimberley region is host to Australia’s oldest known rock paintings.…

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MORE NEWS STORIES

Kimberley Foundation Australia has changed its name to Rock Art Australia

The name has changed but the objectives of the Foundation remain unchanged.  [Play the short film to capture our evolution]

Rock Art Australia will continue as an organisation dedicated to understanding through research and Aboriginal knowledge the history of human habitation in Australia. Research will remain multi-disciplinary and scientific and will always be in partnership with Aboriginal people.

The Kimberley’s rock art legacy will remain a primary focus but areas with rich rock art assemblages, also ancient but different from the Kimberley, contain valuable records that reveal Australia’s earliest history. The change of name to Rock Art Australia reflects a growing awareness that rock art research can make a unique and substantial contribution to the history of Australia, the region in which we live and the narrative of global migration.

RAA BROCHURERAA RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS

FILM INTRODUCING THE RESEARCH CHAIRS

As RAA supporters know, this year we have two new scientists leading the two Chairs established by the Foundation – one in Rock Art at The University of WA, and one in Archaeological Science at The University of Melbourne.  Due to Covid-19 the events to meet them in person have not been able to take place. So we introduce them to you here!  Click on the link for a revealing 8-minute chat led by former ABC presenter Graham Phillips with Professors Joakim Goldhahn and  Rachel Popelka-Filcoff.

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OUR RESEARCH

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Rock Art Australia’s job is to fund the research and protect Australia’s rock art by bringing science and Aboriginal cultural knowledge togetherWe’re committed to advancing the understanding of and protection of this great national heritage. The global significance of the rock art needs to be more broadly recognised, respected, and celebrated.  

You can help us do our job. Rock art research leads to the protection of Australia’s extraordinary Aboriginal heritage. Act now and donate to rock art research.

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