Lecture 3. Memories in Stone: Petroglyphs and Rock Arrangements in Australia

In addition to rock painting, petroglyphs (carved rock) some as early as 40,000 BCE, are found in nearly every region of Australia. Local stones were used as carving tools. Imagery includes birds, marine life, and people. Australia also features meaningful arrangements in a variety of configurations. Some rock art in caves was made with fingers and sticks pressed into soft limestone. Specific sites were used for important events such as childbirth. Some detailed rock engravings demonstrate that Aborigines were acutely aware of topography and fauna. Unlike painting, in which pigment is added on top of rock surfaces, carving erases and permanently alters rock surfaces.

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