Astronomical symbolism in Australian Aboriginal rock art

Raymond Paul Norris, Duane Willis Hamacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Traditional Aboriginal Australian cultures include a significant astronomical component, perpetuated through oral tradition and ceremony. This knowledge has practical navigational and calendrical functions, and in some cases extends to a deep understanding of the motion of objects in the sky. Here we explore whether this astronomical tradition is reflected in the rock art of Aboriginal Australians. We find several plausible examples of depictions of astronomical figures and symbols, and also evidence that astronomical observations were used to set out stone arrangements. However, we recognise that the identification of astronomical themes as a dominant feature of Aboriginal rock art is not yet unequivocal, and describe our plans for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99 - 106
Number of pages8
JournalRock Art Research
Volume28
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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