Murujuga at a crossroads: considering the evidence of nineteenth-century contact, Dampier Archipelago, northwest Australia

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Abstract

Mounting evidence indicates that the production of petroglyphs within what is now the Dampier Archipelago on the Pilbara coast of northwest Western Australia spans a period beginning 30,000–40,000 years ago until the nineteenth century. Despite the testimony of sites on the Pilbara mainland, there is little in Dampier rock art that indicates continued production after European settlement, some 150 years ago. Considering the abundance of rock art in the Dampier Archipelago, there are remarkably few images depicting subjects of European origin. What does occur has the appearance of being made by Europeans. Looking at the early colonial history of the area and examining the occurrence of introduced items in Dampier rock art I infer minimal rock art production by Aboriginal people post-1860s. Why this is and why the production of rock art stopped is tackled here. © 2018, © 2019 Australian Archaeological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-262
JournalAustralian Archaeology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2018

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