Memorialization and the Stencilled Rock Art of Mirarr Country, Northern Australia

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Hayward, John A
Johnston, Iain G
May, Sally K
Tacon, Paul SC
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2018
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Abstract

This paper addresses the motivations for producing the rare object stencils found in the rock art of western Arnhem Land. We present evidence for 84 stencils recorded as part of the Mirarr Gunwarddebim project in western Arnhem Land, northern Australia. Ranging from boomerangs to dilly bags, armlets and spearthrowers, this assemblage suggests something other than a common or ongoing culture practice of stencilling objects used in everyday life. Instead, we suggest that these stencils represent an entirely different function in rock art through a process of memorialization that was rare, opportunistic and highly selective.

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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology
Object stencils
Arnhem Land
Mirarr Gunwarddebim project
Boomerangs
Dilly bags
Armlets
Spearthrowers
Rock art
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