Lecture 1. Dreamings and Songlines: Introducing Australian Aboriginal Sacred Landscapes

The first lecture introduces the Aboriginal people who have lived in Australia for over 40 millennia. Several sites demonstrate the presence of early Aborigines as nomadic hunter-gatherers; cremations, burials, ovens, and artifacts date to at least 40,000 BCE. Early evidence of aquaculture evinces a rare instance of hunter-gatherer engineering that led to food surplus and stone houses. Etching, stenciling, and painting on rocks denote the presence of Dreamings, whose paths in the landscape are called songlines. The oral tradition and sand songs of modern Aboriginal groups such as the Gunditjmara, Adnyamathanha, Warlpiri, and Wardaman recount how individual Dreamings created every water source and geological feature in the landscape via songlines, or the paths of the Dreamings in the landscape. Some of these paths are the same as those of traditional hunter-gatherers, and songlines in the sky mirror the terrestrial paths

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