Reconsidering regional rock art styles: exploring cultural and relational understandings in northern Australia's gulf country

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13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Archaeologists have frequently employed formal style-based approaches to identify regional rock art styles as a means to learning about social organization, territoriality, boundaries and interaction/communication. However, less attention has been devoted to interrogating the relational and cultural understandings of the motifs and sites subsumed under these broad regional style labels. In this article we focus on the complex social and cultural relationships tied to rock art at a regional level from northern Australia?s Gulf country to explore the association between a regional rock art style ? the ?Gulf style? ? and local Indigenous understandings of rock art. We argue that images from the southwest Gulf country are more than part of a regional rock art style ? they are a part of an important network of ontological and epistemological encounters, which extends far beyond the rock wall in which they are encountered and into the realm of kinship, ceremony and Indigenous philosophical systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361 - 382
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this

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abstract = "Archaeologists have frequently employed formal style-based approaches to identify regional rock art styles as a means to learning about social organization, territoriality, boundaries and interaction/communication. However, less attention has been devoted to interrogating the relational and cultural understandings of the motifs and sites subsumed under these broad regional style labels. In this article we focus on the complex social and cultural relationships tied to rock art at a regional level from northern Australia?s Gulf country to explore the association between a regional rock art style ? the ?Gulf style? ? and local Indigenous understandings of rock art. We argue that images from the southwest Gulf country are more than part of a regional rock art style ? they are a part of an important network of ontological and epistemological encounters, which extends far beyond the rock wall in which they are encountered and into the realm of kinship, ceremony and Indigenous philosophical systems.",
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