An engraved ‘archaic face’ in the northeastern Simpson Desert

01st December 2009

Ross&SmithSR AA69_Figure2June Ross and Mike Smith


A new find of an engraved ‘archaic face’ in the Toomba Range, on the northeastern edge of the Simpson Desert, provides additional evidence for the production of these distinctive motifs on the eastern side of the arid zone (Figure 1). This supplements an earlier report of an engraved archaic face at Carbine Creek, 100km to the northeast of the Toomba Range (Morwood 1978, 1985). Together, these two engravings with characteristic basrelief facial features extend the known distribution of archaic faces and suggest that sometime in the past people shared aspects of a common visual vocabulary across the entire breadth of the arid zone, north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Image caption: The Gap Hole archaic face (published in Australian Archaeology 69:69).
June Ross and Mike Smith
An engraved ‘archaic face’ in the northeastern Simpson Desert
December 2009
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