An Analysis of Rock Art Sites in the Ranges Northwest of the Cumberland Plain

Author: William Moon

Moon, William, 2016 An Analysis of Rock Art Sites in the Ranges Northwest of the Cumberland Plain, Flinders University, School of Humanities and Creative Arts

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Abstract

This thesis is an archaeological analysis of rock shelters that were used by Aboriginal Australians for habitation and rock art in the ranges northwest of the Cumberland Plain, in the Sydney Basin. It considers the range of intensity of shelter site use for habitation, together with the rock art motifs, and the behaviours associated with motif production, and uses multivariate statistical analysis to identify patterns in the relationships between these variables in order to understand the behaviours associated with site use. The results are interpreted in the context of the wider environmental and social constraints that were likely to have imposed upon, and influenced the groups using the sites. The analysis reveals that most sites were infrequently used by small highly mobile groups for short durations. Rock shelters afforded an expedient means of shelter for groups traversing a rugged landscape. The energy required to traverse the land for the purpose of hunting and foraging, and for travel, and the resource availability, and risk would have restricted unnecessary movement within the landscape. Excessive movement, particularly in times of stress would have been avoided. This restriction together with the distribution, and spatial limitations of rock shelters, led to a shared space for domestic, ritual and religious activity. Rock shelters afforded a space for the dual contexts of the sacred and secular. They express and reflect the integration of the spiritual with the everyday existence of the inhabitants, and how they perceived the habitation space.

Keywords: Archaeology, Indigenous, Rock Art, Sydney Region
Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2016
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Claire Smith