This volume, focusing on the ceiling art at Nawarla Gabarnmang, one of the richest rock art sites in Arnhem Land (in Australia’s Northern Territory), presents a new systematic approach to the archaeological recording and documentation of rock art developed to analyse the spatial and temporal structure of complex rock art panels.
This volume presents a new systematic approach to the archaeological recording and documentation of rock art developed to analyse the spatial and temporal structure of complex rock art panels. Focusing on the ceiling art at Nawarla Gabarnmang, one of the richest rock art sites in Arnhem Land the approach utilised DStretch-enhanced photographs to record 1391 motifs from 42 separate art panels across the ceiling. Harris Matrices were then built to show the sequence of superimpositions for each art panel. Using common attributes, including features identified by Morellian Method (a Fine Art method not previously employed in archaeological rock art studies), contemporaneous motifs within panels were then aggregated into individual layers. The art layers of the various panels were then inter-related using the relative and absolute chronological evidence to produce a full relative sequence for the site as a whole. This provided a story of the art that began some 13,000 years ago and concluded around 60 years ago, with a major change identified in the art some 450 years ago. The method was shown to be invaluable to the resolution of many difficult issues associated with the identification of motifs, their superimpositions and the development of art sequences.
1. INTRODUCTION ;
2. JAWOYN LANDS: PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT ;
3. JAWOYN PEOPLE, CULTURE AND COUNTRY ;
4. ARNHEM LAND ARCHAEOLOGY ;
5. RESEARCH METHODS ;
6. NAWARLA GABARNMANG AND ITS ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXT ;
7. THE CEILING GALLERY ;
8. LAYERS OF TIME ;
9. ART IN TIME AND SPACE ;
10. INTERPRETING JAWOYN ROCK ART ;
11. A STORY OF ART ;
APPENDIX 1: Nawarla Gabarnmang motif list including Panel Art Phase and Site Art Assemblage
About the Author
Dr Robert Gunn is a consultant archaeologist with over 35 years’ experience and who specialises in the recording and management of Australian Aboriginal rock art. He has published over 50 papers and monographs, mostly on areas of rock art research. He has worked throughout Australia with research interests in Arnhem Land, Central Australia, Western Victoria, south-western regions of Western Australia, and Far Western NSW. This work has involved the collection of both archaeological and ethnographic information and, consequently, he has worked closely with senior Aboriginal custodians and traditional owners. Robert completed his PhD at Monash University, Australia, in 2007. He is currently a Research Fellow affiliated with Monash Indigenous Study Centre, Monash University, and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage.