A Formal Analysis of Rock Art in Kuuku I’yu Ngaachi, Cape York Peninsula, Australia

Author: Natasha Marshall

Marshall, Natasha, 2019 A Formal Analysis of Rock Art in Kuuku I’yu Ngaachi, Cape York Peninsula, Australia, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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The recent rediscovery of rock art within the homelands of the Kuuku I’yu people (Northern Kaanju) in the northern Cape York Peninsula highlands, Queensland, Australia, has prompted the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation to survey, study and conserve these sites. As a part of that cultural heritage management work, this thesis has the following aims: to characterise elements of rock art in Kuuku I’yu country and local trends; to examine relationships between motif types and distribution and the landscape in which they were placed; to undertake an inter-regional comparison to determine whether or the extent to which Kuuku I’yu rock art has similarities with adjoining regions and finally to establish a relative chronology for rock art in Kuuku I’yu Ngaachi. This thesis presents a formal analysis of the key features of the Kuuku I’yu rock art assemblage, as well as a comparison with rock art in the wider Cape York Peninsula, specifically in the south-eastern Peninsula including Laura, Ngarrabullgan, Koolburra Plateau and Bonny Glen. Comparison is made to the landmark 1995 regional variability study by Bruno David and David Chant to determine whether Kuuku I’yu rock art conforms to David and Chant’s extant model, or whether it is a further example of regional variability in the Peninsula.

As a project initiated by the Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation on behalf of Kuuku I’yu custodians, this thesis seeks to assist with research to understand this newly documented body of art through archaeological techniques such as digital recording, formal analysis and comparative analysis.

Keywords: Rock Art, Indigenous Australia, Cape York Peninsula, Kuuku I'yu, Archaeology

Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2019
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Dr Michael Morrison