Huge Outback rock artwork web site reveals historic narrative

Massive outback rock art site reveals ancient narrative
The central portion of Marra Wonga with an intensive wall of petroglyphs and stencils. Credit score: A. Jalandoni

Researchers have make clear the story behind a big sandstone rock artwork web site in Central Queensland that options seven star-like designs, giant snake-like designs, six-toed human toes and even a penis.

Professor Paul Tacon and Dr. Andrea Jalandoni from the Griffith Heart for Social and Cultural Analysis and Australian Analysis Heart for Human Evolution started working with Iningai Conventional Homeowners and different establishments in September 2020 to review the varied artwork works throughout the 160-meter-long rock shelter generally known as Marra Wonga close to Barcaldine.

The staff estimated the positioning contained greater than 15,000 particular person rock artwork works (generally known as petroglyphs), which consisted largely of animal tracks, traces, grooves and drilled holes, in addition to 111 hand-related and object stencils.

Distinctive compositions on the shelter wall featured seven giant, engraved star-like designs with central engraved pits and huge, engraved snake-like designs working throughout and thru different petroglyphs.

There was additionally a cluster of human-shaped foot petroglyphs on the ground of the shelter, some with six or extra toes.

“Ten clusters of designs unfold throughout the size of the engraved space of Marra Wonga seem to have been positioned in a selected order, from south to north, though the designs have been doubtless made at completely different occasions, with an accumulation of those clusters and different rock markings over time,” Professor Tacon stated.

“Nonetheless, the order is sensible for up to date Aboriginal neighborhood members as completely different components of a Seven Sisters Dreaming story, within the appropriate sequence.”

This consists of:

  • an anthropomorph interpreted as an Ancestral Being generally known as Wattanuri by Iningai and different elders;
  • a snake-like design;
  • a cluster of engraved toes on the ground together with these with six-toes;
  • an engraved “penis”;
  • seven star-like design cluster;
  • a protracted engraved snake;
  • two purple boomerang stencils one above the opposite;
  • a purple digging stick stencil, stenciled ideas and attainable ring pad stencil;
  • engraved human-like toes and dingo monitor;
  • an engraved star-like design.

Seven Sisters tales the world over share many options together with a reference to the Pleiades star cluster and the Orion constellation, the seven sisters being chased by males or a person, and typically a hunter and/or intelligent man related to Orion, who beloved and/or lusted after a number of of the sisters.

For Marra Wonga it’s interpreted as being Wattanuri and there may be an engraved depiction of him on the southern finish of the positioning.

A few of the Seven Sisters tales have an disagreeable or violent facet, however Professor Tacon stated this depiction of the actions of the sisters and their pursuer in an historic period of the Dreamtime led to the creation of panorama options throughout Australia that stay right now.

“All rock artwork websites have or as soon as had tales related to explicit designs and the websites themselves, in addition to the landscapes they’re part of,” Professor Tacon stated.

“However we all know of no different rock artwork web site anyplace on this planet with a story that runs throughout the whole thing of the positioning.

“It is rather uncommon on this planet right now to have detailed ethnographic views to sit down alongside archaeological description, though in Australia we’re lucky that some stay robust, as with Marra Wonga.”

The staff partnered with Yambangku Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Tourism Growth Aboriginal Company (YACHATDAC) to carry out this analysis.

The findings “Marra Wonga: Archaeological and up to date First Nations interpretations of one in every of central Queensland’s largest rock artwork websites” have been printed in Australian Archaeology.


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Extra info:
Paul S. C. Taçon et al, Marra Wonga: Archaeological and up to date First Nations interpretations of one in every of central Queensland’s largest rock artwork websites, Australian Archaeology (2022). DOI: 10.1080/03122417.2022.2084666

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