Rock Art as Cultural Expressions of Social Relationships and Kinship

Liam Michael Brady, John James Bradley, Amanda Kearney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter examines rock art as cultural expressions of social relationships and kinship. More specifically, it considers the type(s) of relationships that exist or emerge in Indigenous contexts and how appreciation of these relationships can elucidate the meaning, symbolism, and significance of rock art. It first explores the relational contexts of rock art by citing examples involving sorcery before discussing the social embeddedness of rock art and the network of relationships that rock art operates within. It then analyzes the regional relatedness and social connectedness of rock art and shows that the breadth of relationships into which rock art is embedded involves ontology and epistemology. The chapter uses a series of case studies drawn primarily from rock art research with Yanyuwa, a maritime-oriented Indigenous language group in northern Australia’s southwest Gulf country, supplemented with examples from the American
Southwest and other areas within Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Rock Art
EditorsBruno David, Ian J. McNiven
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780190607364
ISBN (Print)9780190607357
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • rock art
  • social relationships
  • kinship
  • sorcery
  • regional relatedness
  • social connectedness
  • ontology
  • Yanyuwa
  • Australia
  • epistemology

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