Projects per year
Archaeologists usually see, and understand, rock shelters as taphonomically active, but pre-existing, physical structures onto which people undertake a variety of actions including rock art. Our aim in this paper is not only to document the changes undergone by rock shelters but also to identify traces of anthropic actions that have intentionally led to these changes. Recent research in northern Australia provides empirical evidence that for thousands of years, Aboriginal peoples altered the physical shape of rock shelters by removing masses of rock to create alcoves, restructure internal spaces and create stoneworked furniture. Through archaeomorphological research, this paper presents evidence from Borologa in Australia’s Kimberley region, where hard quartzite monoliths were shaped and engaged as architectural designs by Aboriginal people prior to painting many surfaces, making us rethink what have traditionally been distinguished as natural versus cultural dimensions of archaeological landscapes and rock art sites.