Survival, Social Cohesion and Rock Art: The Painted Hands of Western Arnhem Land, Australia

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
File version

Version of Record (VoR)

Author(s)
May, Sally K
Taylor, Luke
Frieman, Catherine
Tacon, Paul SC
Wesley, Daryl
Jones, Tristen
Goldhahn, Joakim
Mungulda, Charlie
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
Editor(s)
Date
2020
Size
File type(s)
Location
Abstract

This paper explores the complex story of a particular style of rock art in western Arnhem Land known as ‘Painted Hands’. Using new evidence from recent fieldwork, we present a definition for their style, distribution and place in the stylistic chronologies of this region. We argue these motifs played an important cultural role in Aboriginal society during the period of European settlement in the region. We explore the complex messages embedded in the design features of the Painted Hands, arguing that they are more than simply hand stencils or markers of individuality. We suggest that these figures represent stylized and intensely encoded motifs with the power to communicate a high level of personal, clan and ceremonial identity at a time when all aspects of Aboriginal cultural identity were under threat.

Journal Title

Cambridge Archaeological Journal

Conference Title
Book Title
Edition
Volume
Issue
Thesis Type
Degree Program
School
Publisher link
Patent number
Funder(s)
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

© 2020 McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Item Access Status
Note
Access the data
Related item(s)
Subject

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology

Archaeology

Persistent link to this record
Citation

May, SK; Taylor, L; Frieman, C; Taçon, PSC; Wesley, D; Jones, T; Goldhahn, J; Mungulda, C, Survival, Social Cohesion and Rock Art: The Painted Hands of Western Arnhem Land, Australia, Cambridge Archaeological Journal, pp. 1-20

Collections