Thesis abstract ‘Aboriginal Rock Engravings of the Panaramitee Hills, South Australia’

30th December 2013

Dave Mott

BA(Hons), Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide, October 1998

A great deal of rock art in the Panaramitee region has been described in detail. The focus of this thesis was to take one step further and analyse the data that is recorded in an archaeologically useful fashion. By investigating the rock art complex at the Panaramitee Hills engraving site from an archaeological approach I attempted to establish whether there is an existence of meaningfully placed motifs. Due to the lack of ethnographic evidence this thesis steers away from interpretive conjecture regarding the meaning of the art and attempts to find commonalities in the placement of the art in relation to its geographic context and to other bodies of rock art in the area.

The complete survey of all natural and cultural features of the landscape will allow a formal analysis of any spatial patterning of the art that may be present over a wide area. The fieldwork involved the tracing of motifs onto large sheets of polythene plastic. This method enabled a swift recording of the engravings ensuring minimal disturbance to the sites that are considerably exfoliated due to environmental erosion. This method of recording also enabled the spatial patterning of the motifs at each separate outcrop to be analysed efficiently away from the site. By counting and measuring motif types, identifying engraved tracks of certain animal species and by noting the direction certain motifs are situated in the landscape, the analysis will contribute to the question of whether a strictly archaeological approach can shed any light as to the level of significance of certain engravings and common associations between engravings.

The analysis of the superimposition of motifs will decipher whether there were different phases of artistic activity or alternatively, one period of engraving activity. The depth of patination over the motifs and the degree of weathering different motifs have been exposed too should give an approximate indication of their sequence of execution.

The final copy of this thesis will be presented to the Ngadjuri Peoples Council who kindly assisted in its formulation. The Department of State Aboriginal Affairs will also receive a copy and the site cards for the Panaramitee Hills complex of engravings will be filled out completing the recording of all known art sites in the Panaramitee region.

Mott, D.
Thesis abstract 'Aboriginal Rock Engravings of the Panaramitee Hills, South Australia'
December 1999
Thesis Abstracts
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