The history of Arnhem Land rock art research: A multicultural, multilingual and multidisciplinary pursuit

The history of Arnhem Land rock art research: A multicultural, multilingual and multidisciplinary pursuit Book Section

Histories of Australian Rock Art Research

  • Author(s): Taçon, PSC
  • Secondary Author(s): Taçon, PSC, May, SK, Frederick, UK, McDonald, J
  • Published: 2022

Abstract: Arnhem Land rock art, including that of Kakadu National Park, has been known to the outside world since the early 1800s but it was not until the 1940s that it became a subject of serious investigation (e.g. see McCarthy 1955, 1960; Rose 1942). Eight key research themes developed over time with different approaches, questions and subjects of concern. These themes, from an initial one of discovery and reporting to the most recent employing digital technology, structure this paper. However, the focus is on the multicultural investigation of Arnhem Land rock art and the ways in which this has shaped the history and course of research, including the testing and adoption of many pioneering approaches to rock art recording, interpretation, dating, conservation, management and tourism. Over 100 non-Indigenous individuals from 12 countries have contributed to our understanding of Arnhem Land rock art, with Australians, Brits, Czechs and Canadians, in particular, advancing knowledge. But there has always equally been a strong interest from Aboriginal Australians in better understanding, promoting and protecting their rock art heritage with over 100 key individuals from across Arnhem Land and beyond actively participating in Arnhem Land research. Consequently, Indigenous and non-Indigenous research perspectives have been intertwined for over 70 years, resulting in a deservedly rich and enriched rock art research history.

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Suggested Citation
Taçon, PSC, 2022, The history of Arnhem Land rock art research: A multicultural, multilingual and multidisciplinary pursuit, Book Section, viewed 21 February 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=38517.

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