The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia

The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia

Edited by: Bruno David, Paul S.C. Taçon orcid, Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Jean-Michel Geneste

Please read Conditions of use before downloading the formats.

Download/view free formats
PDF (53.2MB)PDF chaptersRead online (HTML)EPUB (64.6MB)MOBI (64.1MB)


Western Arnhem Land, in the Top End of Australia’s Northern Territory, has a rich archaeological landscape, ethnographic record and body of rock art that displays an astonishing array of imagery on shelter walls and ceilings. While the archaeology goes back to the earliest period of Aboriginal occupation of the continent, the rock art represents some of the richest, most diverse and visually most impressive regional assemblages anywhere in the world. To better understand this multi-dimensional cultural record, The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia focuses on the nature and antiquity of the region’s rock art as revealed by archaeological surveys and excavations, and the application of novel analytical methods. This volume also presents new findings by which to rethink how Aboriginal peoples have socially engaged in and with places across western Arnhem Land, from the north to the south, from the plains to the spectacular rocky landscapes of the plateau. The dynamic nature of Arnhem Land rock art is explored and articulated in innovative ways that shed new light on the region’s deep time Aboriginal history.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Nov 2017
Terra Australis 47
ANU Press
Terra Australis
Arts & Humanities: Archaeology, Art & Music, History; Social Sciences: Anthropology, Indigenous Studies

PDF Chapters

The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia »

Please read Conditions of use before downloading the formats.

If your web browser doesn't automatically open these files, please download a PDF reader application such as the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

To copy a chapter DOI link, right-click (on a PC) or control+click (on a Mac) and then select ‘Copy link location’.

  1. The archaeology of western Arnhem Land’s rock art (PDF, 0.4MB)Bruno David, Paul S.C. Taçon, Robert Gunn, Jean-Jacques Delannoy and Jean-Michel Geneste doi

Part A: Archaeology of rock art in northwestern Arnhem Land

  1. People and fish: Late Holocene rock art at Wulk Lagoon, Arnhem Land (PDF, 2.0MB)Daryl Wesley, Tristen Jones and Rose Whitau doi
  2. The rock art of Ingaanjalwurr, western Arnhem Land, Australia (PDF, 1.4MB)Sally K. May, Denis Shine, Duncan Wright, Tim Denham, Paul S.C. Taçon, Melissa Marshall, Inés Domingo Sanz, Faye Prideaux and Sean Paul Stephens doi
  3. The agency of artefacts: Socio-ideological functionality and the long-necked spearthrowers of Mirarr Country, northern Australia (PDF, 1.3MB)John A. Hayward doi
  4. The rock art of Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II) (PDF, 1.8MB)Sally K. May, Paul S.C. Taçon, Duncan Wright, Melissa Marshall, Joakim Goldhahn and Inés Domingo Sanz doi
  5. Dynamic Figures of Mirar Country: Chaloupka’s four-phase theory and the question of variability within a rock art style (PDF, 1.4MB) – Iain G. Johnston, Joakim Goldhahn and Sally K. May doi
  6. How old is X-ray art? Minimum age determinations for early X-ray rock art from the ‘Red Lily’ (Wulk) Lagoon rock art precinct, western Arnhem Land (PDF, 0.8MB)Tristen Jones, Vladimir Levchenko and Daryl Wesley doi
  7. Art and megafauna in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia: Illusion or reality? (PDF, 1.5MB)Paul S.C. Taçon and Steve Webb doi

Part B: Archaeology of rock art on the central-western Arnhem Land plateau

  1. Postcards from the outside: European-contact rock art imagery and occupation on the southern Arnhem Land plateau, Jawoyn lands (PDF, 2.7MB)Robert Gunn, Bruno David, Ray Whear, Daniel James, Fiona Petchey, Emilie Chalmin, Géraldine Castets, Bryce Barker, Jean-Michel Geneste and Jean-Jacques Delannoy doi
  2. Engineers of the Arnhem Land plateau: Evidence for the origins and transformation of sheltered spaces at Nawarla Gabarnmang (PDF, 9.9MB)Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Bruno David, Jean-Michel Geneste, Margaret Katherine, Benjamin Sadier and Robert Gunn doi
  3. Dating painted Panel E1 at Nawarla Gabarnmang, central-western Arnhem Land plateau (PDF, 7.3MB)Bruno David, Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Robert Gunn, Emilie Chalmin, Géraldine Castets, Fiona Petchey, Ken Aplin, Magen O’Farrell, Ian Moffat, Jerome Mialanes, Jean-Michel Geneste, Bryce Barker, Benjamin Sadier, Margaret Katherine, Meropi Manataki and Ursula Pietrzak doi
  4. The past 500 years of rock art at Nawarla Gabarnmang, central-western Arnhem Land (PDF, 3.4MB)Robert Gunn, Bruno David, Jean-Jacques Delannoy and Margaret Katherine doi
  5. Archaeology of rock art at Dalakngalarr 1, central-western Arnhem Land (PDF, 6.5MB)Daniel James, Bruno David, Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Robert Gunn, Alexandria Hunt, Ian Moffat, Nadia Iacono, Sean Paul Stephens and Margaret Katherine doi
  6. Determining the age of paintings at JSARN–113/23, Jawoyn Country, central-western Arnhem Land plateau (PDF, 6.4MB)Bruno David, Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Robert Gunn, Liam M. Brady, Fiona Petchey, Jerome Mialanes, Emilie Chalmin, Jean-Michel Geneste, Ian Moffat, Ken Aplin and Margaret Katherine doi
  7. Archaeology of JSARN–124 site 3, central-western Arnhem Land: Determining the age of the so-called ‘Genyornis’ painting (PDF, 7.4MB)Bryce Barker, Lara Lamb, Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Bruno David, Robert Gunn, Emilie Chalmin, Géraldine Castets, Ken Aplin, Benjamin Sadier, Ian Moffat, Jerome Mialanes, Margaret Katherine, Jean-Michel Geneste and Stéphane Hoerlé doi

Other publications that may interest you