Skip to comments.Wollemi Rock Art Shows Aboriginal Dreaming
Posted on 12/03/2005 4:04:22 PM PST by blam
Wollemi rock art shows Aboriginal Dreaming
ABC Science Online
Friday, 2 December 2005
Some of the rock art found in Wollemi National Park is believed to represent paths associated with Dreamtime beings, such as the eagle ancestor (Image: Paul Taçon)
Archaeologists surveying rugged bushland outside Sydney have discovered evidence that an ancient Aboriginal Dreaming track runs through wilderness where the Jurassic-era Wollemi Pine was found.
Dreaming tracks record the journey of spirit ancestors as they moved through the landscape, transforming ancestral lands and laying down the laws.
Around 1000 known tracks are believed to exist, mainly in central and northern Australia, says Professor Paul Taçon of Griffith University, whose work was presented at an archaeology conference in Western Australia this week.
Taçon says a survey of Wollemi National Park west of Sydney, beginning in September 2004, has found numerous paintings and engravings.
"We found dozens of previously unrecorded rock art sites," he says.
"It appears that a traditional Aboriginal travel route, possibly a Dreaming track, runs across Wollemi National Park."
He says the rock art evidence suggests that there must once have been Dreaming tracks across southeast Australia as significant and detailed as those in the north and centre.
The finding is also reported in the International Newsletter of Rock Art.
Probing the wilderness
The discovery comes after Taçon and his team announced in 2003 they had discovered more than 200 rock paintings in an undisclosed rock shelter deep in the Wollemi wilderness.
Some areas were so remote they were only accessible by helicopter.
The sites represent the most well-preserved and extensive drawing and stencil sites in southeastern Australia, Taçon says.
They are believed to be as old as 4000 years and many represent birds, or human-bird hybrids, which is unusual for Aboriginal art but probably reflected the area's rich bird life.
At the time it was hailed as a major find, but since then Taçon and colleagues, including members of local Aboriginal communities, have made more startling discoveries suggesting the area has major cultural significance.
Major cultural significance
"We've been working on the eastern and western sides of the central portion of Wollemi National Park and we've been finding some key sites on each side which show influences from several different directions," he says.
"For example some of the art which is more typical of the western side is found in the east and vice versa.
"It looks like this is a path that people used and marked for many thousands of years."
Taçon says the sites will remain secret but will be documented for posterity.
His team will begin new fieldwork in the area next April.
The world-famous Wollemi pine was discovered in the area in 1994 after having been thought extinct for millions of years.
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Wow, I would love to have one. Wonder if it can be grown as a house plant with summers out of doors.
I always thought the name "Igor Sikorsky" had an abo right to it.
Perfect patio plants
Botanist Sally McGeoch says that by the end of 2005 Wollemi Pine saplings will be available from selected retailers.
They could survive in hot or cold climates and would make perfect indoor plants.
They grow slowly, like low-light and would be perfect on a patio," the scientist told BBC News Online.
Actually, it's probably cooler, safer, and far from the ex-spouse.