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Date(s) - 10/12/2015
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Social Sciences Lecture Theatre (G130)

“Rock art of the mid-Holocene marine transgression on the Dampier Archipelago”

Victoria Anderson

Dampier Archipelago, located on the sub-tropical northwest coast of Australia, is home to arguably the largest and most dense concentration of petroglyphs in the world. The distinctive geology of this region, characterised by spectacular piles of fractured blocks, provides countless suitable canvases for rock art production. This resource-rich island chain has not, however, always been as such. At the height of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), approximately 21,000 years ago, sea levels were 130 metres lower than at present. During this period, the ocean was 160 km distant and what now comprises a series of 42 islands, was then an inland range on a vast plain. As the sea advanced, reaching its current position 6000 years ago, people were likely forced to adapt to their changing environment. On the Dampier Archipelago a unique opportunity exists to understand how people responded to this dramatic landscape transformation, using the prolific rock art as a lens.

The primary goal of this proposed research is to explore the ways in which people responded and adapted to the arrival of the sea through a detailed analysis of the rock art and associated archaeological evidence. The project will also focus on refining the stylistic chronology of Holocene art in the area. Broad chronologies have been developed for the Murujuga rock art by Mulvaney, Veth and McDonald, however this current research proposal aims to improve stylistic characterisation of art within the maritime-focussed phases of the sequence.

4-5pm Thursday 10th December, 2015 Social Sciences, Lecture Theatre (G130)

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