Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Australia’s rock art discovery - sailing vessels visit in mid-1600's

by ANU on 25 Jul 2010
The contact rock art at Djulirri (highlighted in inset) ANU
A team of researchers from The Australian National University and Griffith University have discovered evidence of Southeast Asian sailing vessels visiting Australia in the mid-1600s – the oldest contact rock art in Australia.

The discovery was made by the team taking part in the Picturing Change fieldwork project in the Wellington Range, Arnhem Land. The rock shelter the researchers are studying at Djulirri has nearly 1200 individual paintings and beeswax figures. It was documented by Professor Paul Taçon (Griffith University), Mr. Ronald Lamilami (Senior Traditional Owner) and Dr Sally K. May (ANU).

'This site includes at least 20 layers of art,' said Dr May. 'And importantly, it has also yielded the oldest date yet recorded for contact rock art in Australia. A yellow painted prau (Southeast Asian sailing vessel) is found underneath a large beeswax snake. This snake was radiocarbon dated by Dr Stewart Fallon at ANU to between AD1624 – 1674, meaning that this is a minimum age for the sailing vessel painting.'

While historians and archaeologists have speculated that visits to the northern parts of Australia from Southeast Asian ships have been happening for hundreds of years before European settlements, this is the first rock art evidence found that dates the visits back to the 17th century.

The ARC-funded ‘Picturing Change: 21st century perspectives on recent Australian rock art’ project highlights the importance of contact rock art as some of the only contemporary Indigenous accounts of cross-cultural encounters that took place across Australia through the last 500 years.

Between 2008 and 2010 the researchers worked with local traditional owner Mr Ronald Lamilami to document rock art sites in the Wellington Range, one of the areas of focus of for Picturing Change.

'This part of Arnhem Land is well known for its Southeast Asian heritage and extensive pioneering archaeological research undertaken by Campbell Macknight, although rock art was not a focus of his early archaeological research,' said Dr May.

'Djulirri has more diverse contact period rock art than any other site in Australia' said Professor Taçon. 'Besides the oldest dated paintings of Southeast Asian ships, there are European tall ships and many other forms of watercraft, all of which can be placed in chronological sequence'.

The research will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Australian Archaeology.

For more information, please go to: news.anu.edu.au
Vetus-Maxwell 2021 v2 FOOTERBoat Books Australia FOOTERNorth Sails 2021 FOOTER

Related Articles

Semaine Olympique Française de Hyères future dates
One of the major events on the international Olympic sailing circuit For over 50 years, the elite of Olympic sailing have converged on Hyères - in the Toulon Provence Méditerranée area - in the spring, for one of the most hotly-anticipated events of the season.
Posted today at 9:06 am
2021 International Masters Regatta day 2
Carl Buchan wins the day in San Diego The second day of the 2021 International Masters Regatta started slow and ended strong. Kicking off the day with over an hour postponement only gave the competitors more time to strategize and communicate.
Posted today at 6:04 am
New Blocks and Cam-Cleats from Seldén
An assortment of Soft-Attachment blocks, Ratchet blocks and Cam-cleats Seldén, the Swedish manufacturer of rigs and sail handling equipment, is expanding their deck hardware range by introducing an assortment of Soft-Attachment blocks, Ratchet blocks and Cam-cleats.
Posted on 22 Oct
Nacra15 Worlds La Grande Motte oreview
70 mixed crews and 11 nations set to race 140 young multihull racers are due to take to the waters off La Grande Motte by Montpellier in the south of France to compete at the Nacra15 World Championships, organized by the YCGM.
Posted on 22 Oct
Techno 293 Worlds at Lake Garda preview
Around 300 windsurfers will be taking part There is great excitement in Garda Trentino for the end of the sailing season at the highest level and, just as important, a grand finale dedicated exclusively to the very young.
Posted on 22 Oct
Gitana Team set for Transat Jacques Vabre
It is nearly time for festivities to commence in this 15th edition The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will take the start of her second Transat Jacques Vabre. A double-handed transatlantic, her skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are well versed in the race having already amassed five victories between them.
Posted on 22 Oct
Allen's Latest Product Features
The inboard end batten adjuster and flanged aluminium deck bush Our newest range of flanged aluminium deck bushes feature a wider surface area with two fixing holes, allowing for a simple installation which only requires two screws and no messy bonding agent or silicone.
Posted on 22 Oct
2021 International Masters Regatta day 1
Alan Field comes out strong in San Diego It's no secret that the skippers invited to San Diego Yacht Club's International Masters Regatta (IMR) come with a decorated sailing resume and outstanding accomplishments on the water.
Posted on 22 Oct
Marc Blees sets sights high at Rolex TP52 Worlds
Former top Finn and Star helm turned offshore racer assembles a crew Former top Dutch Finn and Star boat helm turned leading offshore racer, Code Zero's Marc Blees will field a team at next week's 10 boat Rolex TP52 World Championship in Palma, Mallorca.
Posted on 21 Oct
2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race preview
The Mediterranean's quintessential offshore race Rolex has supported this annual 606-nautical mile (975 kilometre) race and its organizers, the Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC), since 2002.
Posted on 21 Oct