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Aboriginal Rock Art And Intaglios

Aboriginal Rock art and Pecked intaglios are likely the oldest of all Aboriginal Art forms.

An Intaglios is an engraving or incised figure in stone or other hard material the design depressed below the surface 

They are located all over Australia from Tasmania to the top end of Australia and unfortunately we are completely unable to read or understand them. Unfortunately the handing down of the stories of these historic places did not occur for some reason or another and have been lost to time.

They appear to have been a product of several generations of conservation as in the cave paintings these have different layers of surface deepening. Investigators of this art form have been unable to determine the manner in which the dots were cut into the rock.

Their purpose has been lost to time. Today many of these sites are under federal protection and may even have paid caretakers looking after them. Unfortunately recently a mining company Rio Tinto destroyed a 40,000 year old site Juukan Gorge rock shelters and caves a sacred site 

These are mostly geometric designs of circles, ovals and lines.

In West Australia along the coastal development areas many of these sites are in danger due to increasing development infringing into these sacred site areas. Many of these now have protection orders for them to protect their significance to Aboriginal Culture. In Arnhem Land in the top of the Northern Territory lies what is believed to be some of the oldest rock art paintings on sandstone cliffs.

These paintings are estimated to be more than 40,000 years old. They have been carefully done in Ochers and carefully restored again and again.

These paintings show the typical left hand done in stencil art along with many other things. Often these hands cover other hands placed before them showing the new custodians have left there mark.

One of the more striking yet more modern examples of this art deals with early sailing ships so clearly these paintings are not more than a few hundred years old but still depicting what is important to the Aboriginal people at the time they were painted.