Visions from the Past

The archaeology of Australian Aboriginal art

M.J. Morwood
AUD $49.99
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Aboriginal rock art: a vast gallery, the work of 1500 generations. ;The island continent of Australia contains the largest continuous record of human artistic expression in history. Here is a beautifully illustrated and comprehensive introduction to this ancient art and its archaeology from Mike Morwood, an experienced and respected authority.

A vast art gallery - the work of 1500 generations.

Across an island continent - on flat slabs overlooking the sea, on desert boulders, under rock overhangs, on the sheer face of deep ravines - the first Australians painted and carved what mattered to them.

Here are stories of the birth of the world and the creation of ancestral humans, of the creatures who made the landscape and gave humans their laws, of the animals who shared these peoples' world, of contact with seafaring races from the north, and of fateful meetings with European arrivals.

Here is art that reaches back towards the beginning of art, a record of communities of immense antiquity. Some sites present the art of recent times alongside or overlapping with art many thousands of years old. In other places the record has been broken in the distant past.

How do we read these stories? How can this art yield up some of its meanings to strangers? How do we learn to appreciate the richness of this ancient legacy?

Mike Morwood, archaeologist and teacher, draws upon many years' experience, comparisons with rock art across the world, and a deep understanding of the present-day custodians of this vast treasure to provide a key to the world's oldest and most remarkable art gallery. Visions from the Past tells the exciting story of how the study of rock art is undertaken, providing information on its systems of meaning and changes over time, and revealing how an understanding of these ancient forms contributes to our knowledge of Australia's immense prehistory.

An excellent introduction, comprehensive, superbly illustrated and emphasising the chronological depth and regional variation of this artistic heritage. An authoritative, clearly documented case for treating Australia as the rock art capital of the world. John Mulvaney.

A definitive text, insightful, informative, always interesting. Claire Smith, Flinders University, Adelaide.

Author bio:

Michael Morwood is the president of the Australian Rock Art Association and teaches Australian archaeology at the University of New England. Since graduating from Australian National University, he has worked both as an academic researcher and as a public archaeologist, carrying out extensive field research in New Zealand and throughout Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. He is currently working on early hominid sites on the Indonesian islands of Java and Flores. Professor Morwood is particularly interested in ethnohistory, material culture studies and the social and ceremonial role of art in Aboriginal Culture. Current projects include work on rock art and its cultural context in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. He has edited two monographs and written numerous articles on rock art.

Category: Archaeology
ISBN: 9781864487176
Awards: Short-listed APA Educational Publishing Awards, Tertiary Education - Scholarly Reference 2003 AU
Table Of Contents: Foreword



1. Aboriginal archaeology in context

2. Australian Aboriginal rock art

3. Australian rock art research: an historical overview

4. How we study Australian Aboriginal art

5. A question of time: dating Australian rock art

6. Subject analyses

7. Structural analyses

8. Case study: central Queensland highlands

9. Case study: north Queensland highlands

10. Case study: southeast Cape York Peninsula

11. A future for the past: conservation of rock art





Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: July 2002
Page Extent: 272
Format: Paperback
Age: 0 - 0
Subject: Archaeology