Historic Dreamtime Myths Revealed in Australian Rock Shelter Artwork

Archaeologists working with Aboriginal artists in Australia have interpreted rock shelter artwork with extraordinary discoveries. This creative mix of astronomy, mythology and dreamtime is like no different on Earth.

Situated close to the agricultural city of Barcaldine within the Barcaldine area of Queensland, Australia, the Marra Wonga Rock Artwork Shelter is likely one of the largest historical rock artwork websites in Central Queensland. This 160 meter lengthy sandstone rock artwork web site is dotted with round 15,000 examples of each prehistoric and fashionable Aboriginal rock artwork generally known as petroglyphs.

Historic artists made holes and carved traces, geometric patterns and animal tracks. Star patterns, serpentine shapes, a human penis and 19 engraved human-like toes with various numbers of toes are all described as “very uncommon”.

Strengthened flooring floor with 19 engraved human-like legs with various numbers of toes. (P. Taçon / Griffith College )

An Aboriginal Archaeological Union

In 2020, Professor Paul Tacon and Dr. Andrea Jalandoni from Griffith Heart for Social and Cultural Analysis and Australian Heart for Analysis in Human Evolution started working with the Yambangku Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Tourism Growth Aboriginal Company (YACHATDAC). They’ve now printed a sequence of recent interpretations within the journal Australian Archaeology .

Seven giant star patterns with engraved central pits are joined collectively by a number of serpents, the lengths of which lengthen via different petroglyphs. The research says that this specific group of photos not solely illustrate ethnographic views, however that they sit alongside archaeological interpretations. And whereas the positioning seems to be a chaotic mess of creative expression, order has been found by the group of scientists, they usually say “a story runs via all the web site.”

Marra Wonga central panel with seven star-like designs grouped in three rows interpreted by Aboriginal community members as representations of the Seven Sisters.  (P. Taçon / Griffith University)

Marra Wonga central panel with seven star-like designs grouped in three rows interpreted by Aboriginal neighborhood members as representations of the Seven Sisters. (P. Taçon / Griffith College )

The derivation of historical cosmology from sculpted chaos

Professor Tacon says ten teams of designs unfold throughout the size of Marra Wonga’s engraved space which “seem to have been positioned in a selected order, from south to north”. This design format made excellent sense to members of the up to date Aboriginal neighborhood who learn the panel as a dreamtime story.

Everywhere in the world, mythology encapsulates features of cosmology and astronomy. In accordance with Dictionary of symbols by JC Cirlot there have been “seven varieties of fairies, one for every path of house and time”. Most historical agrarian cultures corresponded with the quantity seven to the gods, as seven celestial our bodies had been noticed within the sky with the bare eye; Solar, Moon, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter.

Myths that includes seven sisters had been typically impressed by the Pleiades constellation. These stars grew to become symbolic of the faery realms of Scotland and Eire, the place they had been related to the magical “septagram”, the seven-pointed Faery Star. Returning to Marra Wonga in Australia, the panel with seven star-like patterns grouped in three rows additionally represents the Pleiades.

The Pleiades, an open cluster of about 3,000 stars 400 light-years (120 parsecs) from Earth in the constellation Taurus.  It is also known as

The Pleiades, an open cluster of about 3,000 stars 400 light-years (120 parsecs) from Earth within the constellation Taurus. It is usually generally known as “The Seven Sisters”, or the astronomical names NGC 1432/35 and M45. ( Public area )

The Seven Stars of Dreamtime Creation

In world mythology, the seven sisters had been typically pursued by hunters and love-struck clever males who had been related to the constellation Orion. Many Seven Sisters myths are sometimes loaded with sexually charged themes, however Marra Wonga’s new interpretation is in contrast to some other.

Professor Tacon concluded that whereas lots of the Seven Sisters’ tales “have an disagreeable or violent facet”, this isn’t the case with Marra Wonga. He mentioned this specific depiction of the sisters and their pursuer in an “historical period of the dreamtime description of the creation of the panorama.”

This new work primarily demonstrates how historical Australian artists rationalized what they noticed within the sky with summary patterns. And as for “why” they create all these photos, how else would the elders cross on to their youngsters the astronomical info that helped them get to the searching grounds on the proper instances, tips on how to survive there, and tips on how to get dwelling once more in security. ?

Prime picture: Australian rock shelter artwork centerpiece at Marra Wonga, Queensland, with an in depth wall of petroglyphs and stencils. Supply: A. Jalandoni / Griffith College

By Ashley Cowie

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