zStunning Arnhem Land rock art image featuring three rare depictions of bilves and a dugong described by researchers in a new study Australian Archeology This week.
Led by Professor Paul Tacon in Rock Research, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Griffith University Chairman, the team documented 572 previously unknown images ranging from 6000 to 9400 years old at 87 sites from 2008 to 2018.
The names of the Malivava figures, they are found in the northwest Arnhem lands and are recorded from the Avanabarna (Mount Borradale area) to the locations of the Namunidjbuk clan of the Wellington Range.
Malivava’s images include macropods with large (more than 50 cm, sometimes life-size) naturalist humans and animals that are often depicted in comparison to human figures. Stroke-infill or outline forms in various shades of red are depicted with some red strokes, these are shown with little material culture other than a variety of headdresses.
Professor Tacon said that rock art provided a window into the past and showed us what people were doing at this time. “They are well-known early-style dynamic figures, about 12,000 years old and a missing link between X-ray figures made over the last 4000 years.”
“Malivasa is depicted as solitary figures and as part of group scenes showing various activities and some may have a formal reference. Human figures are often depicted with animals, particularly macropods , And these animal – human relationships seem central to the artists’ message., “She said.
He also said that the figures and scenes of Maliwa were not simple depictions of everyday life.
“Artists are clearly communicating aspects of their cultural beliefs, with an emphasis on interactions between important animals and humans and other humans or animals.
“In fact, dynamic figure style is much more common than rock art in terms of the percentage of subject matter to animals, as 89% of the dynamic figures are human, while only about 42% of the Maliwaawa figure is human.”
Professor Tacon said that in some images animals appear to be participating or watching almost any human activity.
“This phenomenon, and the frequency and variability of headdresses, suggest a ritual context for some production of Maliwal rock art.
The co-author of Griffith University’s Place, Evolution and Rock Art Heritage Unit, Drs. Sally’s May said that what was revealed about the depiction of ‘Bylobe’ on an unmarked site was surprising.
“The south and south sides are associated with arid and semi-arid environments, and in historic times Arnhem Land was not within their range,” he said.
“Two of these animals are back-to-back and nearly identical. The third Bilby-like depiction seems to have been done at a different time, and perhaps by a different artist, as it is larger, has a longer muzzle, more line infill. , And is in a light shade of red.
“There is also a possibility that the depictions are of Agile Wallabies, Northern Nailtail Wallabies or Short-Year Rock-Wallabies, which today are widespread across Kakadu-Arnhem Land, but all of these species have small ears and muzzle that are extinct Billa and Hai. Creatures depicted in Avanabarna. ”
Researchers also recorded the earliest address depiction of a dugong.
Dr. May said, “The solitary dugong painting also seems out of place.”
“Today it lies about 15 kilometers south of the Arafura Sea, but the coast may have been further north than 6000–9400 years ago. This indicates that a Maliva artist had visited the coast, but lacked other saltwater organisms It may suggest that it was not consistent. ”
Some sites have two large macropods, with a small space between them. There are also some back-to-back human figures and back-to-back ‘bilob’.
“Tavin stated that the Malivava back-to-back figures are the oldest for Western Arnhem Land and that this painting convention began with the Malivava style. It currently continues with bark drawings and paintings.”
“But was Maliwawa rock art sporadic and made over a short period of time or did it continue for a long time?
He said that they cannot rule out the possibility that the Maliwawa rock painting was produced by a small number of artists. It is also possible that only a couple of artists composed the majority of the paintings, one of which accounts for more forms with minimal outfits and the other with fuller stroke-line infill examples.
“At the same time, much art produced after the Malivava style exhibits remarkable consistency in the way of illustration and a significant increase in the standardization of some subject matter such as X-ray fish.
“So, perhaps what we’re seeing is increasing standardization in the way of illustration after the period in which dynamic figures were created. It has implications for rock art research everywhere, including a style or way of illustration. Has been built on hundreds. Years or millennia. ”
New Evidence of Ancient Rock Art in Southeast Asia
Australian Archeology, DOI: 10.1080 / 03122417.2020.18183
Provided by Taylor & Francis
Quotes: Arnhem Land Maliwawa Rock Art Opens Previous (2020, 30 September) Window From 1 October 2020 https://phys.org/news/2020-09-arnhem-maliwawa-art-window.html
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