Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Astronautic rock art

This week I have been entering data from fieldwork recording rock art on the Burrup peninsula, Western Australia. I've always wanted to find an Aboriginal rock art astronaut, and suddenly there one was! On a rock panel recorded by my esteemed colleague Phil Czerwinski, a little anthropomorphic figure appeared to have a fish-bowl-like helmet on its head. Bingo! But seeing this figure as part of a whole art tradition, and with a personal acquaintance with the art of the Burrup, it actually required a new headspace to give it the ancient astronaut interpretation. Lines like that encircling the head of the figure occur in all sorts of contexts, around limbs, on animals, as isolated motifs. It could have been a work in progress, where the artist would have filled in the circle to make a bigger head eventually. Everything else depicted on the panel was routine in terms of Burrup engravings. I'm not a rock art specialist, so this was an interesting thought process for me. It gave me a glimpse of how the amateur may interpret rock art and perceive such things - a la Erich von Daniken.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:20 am

    Greetings Dr, from the Tropic of Capricorn. I recently visited some rock art in Carnarvon Gorge, a beautifully tranquil place. No space helmets of note though. Wondered if these images are portraying energy fields (or auras) that surround all living things. Certainly people with a close connection to the land and natural life would be more attuned.

    Hope you are well, send an email and tell me how Womad was this year, I see Miriam was here. KJ