Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Early Man Shelter

A sequence of occupation going back in excess of 18 000 years has been found here. In this site both occupation and patinated geometric rock engravings have been uncovered. The back wall of the shelter is covered with patinated petroglyphs in the form of a diagonal frieze that extends below the surface of the sediment. The petroglyphs are heavily weathered. The occupation level has been dated to 13,000 years ago, and the frieze continues below this layer, indicating even greater age for the petroglyphs.

The long frieze was made by the pecking style, and runs obliquely, parallel to the ancient floor and bedding planes of the rock. The natural contours of the rock are followed by the designs, hollows being outlined or filled with petroglyphs. The most common designs are gridded designs, simple 3-pronged, trident-like forms, some of which resemble bird tracks, as well as some circular forms and some lines forming a maze-like pattern. (Flood, 2004). They are considered to be a  local variant of the Panaramitee style studied by Natalie Franklin.

This earliest layer in which ochre has been found is Level 8 that has been dated to 18,200 +/- 450 BP. (Rosenfeld, 1981).

See Aboriginal Art - the Pilbara Engraved Stones

Sources & Further reading

  1. Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing
  2. Phillip J. Habgood & Natilie R. Franklin, The revolution that didn't arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul, Journal of Human Evolution, 55, 2008


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated  07/12/2013
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