Large rock artwork web site within the Outback reveals an historic narrative

The central portion of Marra Wonga with an in depth wall of petroglyphs and stencils. Credit score: A. Jalandoni

Researchers have make clear the story behind a big sandstone rock artwork web site in Central Queensland that options seven star-like designs, massive snake-like designs, human toes with six toes and even a penis.

Professor Paul Tacon and Dr Andrea Jalandoni from the Griffith Heart for Social and Cultural Analysis and the Australian Heart for Analysis in Human Evolution started working with the Iningai conventional homeowners and different establishments in September 2020 to review the assorted artworks within the rock 160 meters lengthy. shelter often known as Marra Wonga close to Barcaldine.

The workforce estimated that the location contained greater than 15,000 particular person rock artwork (often known as petroglyphs), principally consisting of animal tracks, traces, grooves and drill holes, in addition to 111 hand-related templates and objects .

The distinctive compositions on the wall of the shelter featured seven massive, star-engraved patterns with engraved central pits and enormous, snake-like engraved patterns that move over and thru different petroglyphs.

Additionally on the ground of the shelter was a gaggle of human-shaped petroglyphs, some with six or extra toes.

“Ten teams of patterns unfold throughout the size of Marra Wonga’s engraved space seem to have been positioned in some order, from south to north, though the patterns have been in all probability made at completely different occasions, with an accumulation of those teams and different rocks . time markers,” Professor Tacon stated.

“Nevertheless, the order is sensible to members of the up to date Aboriginal group as completely different components of a Seven Sisters Dreaming story, within the right sequence.”

It consists of:

  • an anthropomorph interpreted as an Ancestral Being often known as the Wattans by the Iningai and different elders;
  • a snake-like design;
  • a gaggle of toes engraved on the ground, together with these with six toes;
  • an engraved “penis”;
  • seven star design group;
  • a protracted snake engraved;
  • two purple boomerang templates on high of one another;
  • a purple template with digging stick, templated suggestions and probably template for ring pad;
  • engraved human-like legs and dingo observe;
  • an engraved design like a star.

Seven Sisters tales world wide share many options, together with a connection to the Pleiades star cluster and the Orion constellation, the seven sisters being chased by people or a person, and generally a hunter and/or clever man related to Orion, who beloved and/or lusted after a number of of the sisters.

For Marra Wonga he’s interpreted to be the Wattans and there’s an engraved illustration of him on the southern finish of the location.

A few of the tales of the seven sisters have an disagreeable or violent facet, however Professor Tacon stated this depiction of the actions of the sisters and their stalker in an historic Dream Age period led to the creation of panorama options in Australia that stay right now.

“All rock artwork websites have or as soon as had tales related to sure designs and the websites themselves, in addition to the landscapes they’re a part of,” Professor Tacon stated.

“However we all know of no different rock artwork web site anyplace on the earth with a story that runs by means of the whole web site.

“It is extremely uncommon on the earth right now to have detailed ethnographic insights to sit down alongside the archaeological description, though in Australia we’re lucky that some stay robust, just like the Marra Wonga.”

The workforce collaborated with the Yambangku Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Tourism Improvement Aboriginal Company (YACHATDAC) to conduct this analysis.

The findings of “Marra Wonga: Archaeological and Up to date First Nations Interpretations of One of many Largest Rock Artwork Websites in Central Queensland” have been revealed in Australian Archaeology.

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Extra data:
Paul SC Taçon et al, Marra Wonga: Archaeological and Up to date First Nations Interpretations of One in every of Central Queensland’s Largest Rock Artwork Websites, Australian Archaeology (2022). DOI: 10.1080/03122417.2022.2084666

Supplied by Griffith College

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