Kabadul Kula and the antiquity of Torres Strait rock art

01st December 2009

McNiven_etal AA69_Figure5a

Computer-enhanced photograph of northwest rock art panel at Kabadul Kula (published in Australian Archaeology 69:31).

Ian J. McNiven, Liam M. Brady and Anthony J. Barham

Excavations directly below a painted panel at Kabadul Kula rock art site on the island of Dauan, northern Torres Strait, revealed buried fragments of ochre pigment to a depth of 59cm. A series of AMS 14C dates indicate that most of the ochres and all pieces of facetted ochre were deposited between 1200 and 1400 years ago. Located in a moist tropical environment where the potential for erosion and bioturbation is high, the stratigraphic integrity of the deposit was tested by micromorphological analysis of sediments. Assessment of vertical changes in the size of stone artefacts and sediment particle sizes suggest strongly that this restricted timeframe for ochre use is reliable and not a taphonomic illusion created by post-depositional disturbance. These in situ ochres are associated with an early phase of painting at the site and represent the oldest dates currently available for Torres Strait rock art.

Ian J. McNiven, Liam M. Brady and Anthony J. Barham
Kabadul Kula and the antiquity of Torres Strait rock art
December 2009
69
20-40
Article
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