Contact between the Malay World and Australia: The Rock Art of Djulirri

If you pick up the latest issue of Archaeology Magazine (Jan/Feb 2011), you’ll find their headlining feature on the rock art of Australia, and in particular the rock art at Djulirri in Arnehm Land of northern Australia has a massive complex of rock art depicting thousands of years of history, including the arrival of Macassan ships or praus in the 16th-17th centuries. The full online article is available by subscription, but the website has a nice photo gallery and videos of Dr. Paul Tacon explaining the site.

Reading the Rocks
Archaeology Magazine, Jan/Feb 2011

The Rock Art of Malarrak
Archaeology Magazine, 14 December 2010

The Rock Art of Djulirri (video series)
Archaeology Magazine, 14 December 2010
(In five parts. Part IV contains the video about Southeast Asian Praus in contact with Arnhem Land)

In a remote corner of Arnhem Land in central northern Australia, the Aborigines left paintings chronicling 15,000 years of their history. One site in particular, Djulirri, the subject of “Reading the Rocks” in the January/February 2011 issue of ARCHAEOLOGY, contains thousands of individual paintings in 20 discernable layers. In this video series, Paul S. C. Taçon, an archaeologist, cultural anthropologist, and rock art expert from Griffith University in Queensland, takes ARCHAEOLOGY on a tour of some of the most interesting and unusual paintings—depicting everything from cruise ships to dugong hunts to arrogant Europeans—from Djulirri’s encyclopedic central panel.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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