Aboriginal epistemologies and interpretations of art and place on the Blue Tier, northeast Tasmania

01st December 2011

Microsoft Word - Piotrowski&RossAR_2011026.doc

the ‘dugong’ rock at Blue Tier, Tasmania (Australian Archaeology 73:34).

Silas Piotrowski and Anne Ross

Recent disputes between archaeologists and land managers over the authenticity and heritage value of ‘petroglyphs’ on the Blue Tier in northeast Tasmania have focused on the ‘authorship’ of the rock markings. For Aboriginal traditional owners of the Tier the authorship of the marks is indisputable –  they were made by ancestral beings and are therefore neither anthropogenic nor natural. However, accepting such explanations confronts the management context for the rock markings and may even challenge the very Aboriginality of the people claiming a connection to these ‘relics’. In this paper we demonstrate that meanings in place are important signifiers of cultural significance, but legislation rarely recognises such assertions of connection. In Tasmania the consequences of this gap between legislative protection and Aboriginal connection are profound, and challenge people’s very identity as Aboriginal.

Silas Piotrowski and Anne Ross
Aboriginal epistemologies and interpretations of art and place on the Blue Tier, northeast Tasmania
2011
73
33-40
Article
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