CRAR+M Monograph 2

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming

The Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming Project (LP140100393) was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project between Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC), Rio Tinto and the
Centre for Rock Art Research and Management (CRAR+M) at the University of Western Australia (UWA). This project ran from 2014 – 2018 and aimed to provide research support for the protection and understanding of the world’s largest rock art galleries of Murujuga (the Burrup Peninsula) and the Dampier Archipelago.

Led by CRAR+M Director Jo McDonald, the second CRAR+M Monograph will be published by UWA Publishing online chapter by chapter, with the entire volume available to purchase upon completion.

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Chapter One

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming, an Introduction

Dynamics of the Dreaming was a collaboration between Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, UWA and RioTinto. The project researched both deep time and contemporary values. The aim was to understand the scientific and cultural values of the National Heritage Listed Place - and to support the World Heritage nomination.

Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming, an Introduction
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Chapter Two

The Getting of Wisdom

Dynamics of the Dreaming recognised the urgent need for systematic recording of rock art and stone structures across the entire archipelago. We contextualised rock art production through excavation in landscapes associated with the oldest art sites to improve our understanding of human lifeways through time.

The Getting of Wisdom
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Chapter Three

Murujuga's Rock Art Classification and Taxonomy

Here we describe our archaeological documentation of Murujuga’s rock art. The conventions of our classificatory typology are discussed, as are the digital forms which were created throughout the project. The chapter concludes with a broad summary of the overall results, which are provided in more detail in each of the different island’s survey chapters.

Murujuga's Rock Art Classification and Taxonomy
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Chapter Four

Stone Structures: a new classification

Stone structures, features and arrangements are important, geographically fixed archaeological resources. These are anthropogenically moved or placed stone which range from symbolic arrangements of highly cultural significance to structures that reflect a broad range of subsistence behaviours.

Stone Structures: a new classification
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Chapter Five

Enderby Island Rock Art and Stone Features

Almost 5,000 motifs and sixty-six stone structures were recorded across western Enderby Island. Art production commenced here when this was still part of the coastal landmass, and continued after it became an island.

Enderby Island Rock Art and Stone Features
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Chapter Six

Enderby Island Excavations

Five excavations on Enderby Island included a deep sand body first occupied 15,760 years ago, mangrove-focussed midden between 10-8kya, changing occupation patterns when the island formed, and a reported whaler’s grave on the north coast.

Enderby Island Excavations
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Chapter Seven

Rosemary Island Rock Art and Stone Structures

Rock art across Rosemary Island includes the earliest Murujuga stylistic phases, and most of its recorded subsequent phases. The earliest known Australian domestic structure was recorded here.

Rosemary Island Rock Art and Stone Structures
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Chapter Eight

Rosemary Island Excavations

Eight excavations along the western side of Rosemary Island have shown earliest occupation was around 10,500 years ago at Wadjuru Pool. Early Holocene mangrove-focussed habitation was found in four landscapes and there was a changed economic focus after island formation.

Rosemary Island Excavations
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Chapter Nine

West Lewis Rock Art and Stone Structures

Almost 1,430 motifs were recorded on West Lewis Island’s basalt geology along with 10 stone structures. As well as having a deeper time depth (including dot-headed anthropomorphs, this art records historic encounters with whalers and pastoralists.

West Lewis Rock Art and Stone Structures
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Chapter Ten

West Lewis Rockshelter Excavation

Rockshelters are rare across the archipelago. We excavated a small test square here at the request of Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation who were seeking a suitable repository for repatriating human remains.

West Lewis Rockshelter Excavation
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Chapter Eleven

West Lewis Pastoral Station Excavation

The historical settlement at West Lewis Island includes ruined stone structures and archaeological deposits related to nineteenth-century sheep pastoralism. Why was this island chosen for this settlement? And what is the evidence for early interaction between pastoralists pearlers and Aboriginal people?

West Lewis Pastoral Station Excavation
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Chapter Twelve

Dolphin and Gidley Islands Rock Art and Stone Structures

Flying Foam Passage was a focus for the colonial-era pearling industry. Our work on Dolphin Island investigated a place named previously as ‘Rock Pool Creek’ or ‘Cemetery Beach at Watering Bay’. The rock art here reveals a deep-time use of this place by Aboriginal people, and more recent inscriptions by historically significant figures.

Dolphin and Gidley Islands Rock Art and Stone Structures
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Chapter Thirteen

Dolphin and Gidley Islands Historic Pearling sites

Dolphin and Gidley Islands Historic Pearling sites
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Chapter Fourteen

Burrup Peninsula Rock Art and Stone Structures

Burrup Peninsula Rock Art and Stone Structures
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Chapter Fifteen

Burrup Peninsula Excavations at Watering Cove and Old Geos

These Burrup digs targeted previously unexplored landscapes. Old Geos is in the centre of the Burrup while the Watering Cove Holocene sand dunes are on its east.

Burrup Peninsula Excavations at Watering Cove and Old Geos
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Chapter Sixteen

Fish and Fishing in Murujuga Rock Art

Marine life of the Dampier Archipelago thrives in a diverse range of habitats: from estuarine and nearshore, to reefs and open-water (pelagic). While not all of the 650 identified fish species from these aquatic zones are depicted in the rock art, these depictions include the full range of marine habitats.

Fish and Fishing in Murujuga Rock Art
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Chapter Seventeen

Turtle Species of Murujuga

Each of the seven turtle species known to have inhabited the archipelago can be identified in the rock art of the Murujuga. Where species could not be identified, this was due to engravings having characteristics of multiple species, a possible deliberate decision by the artist.

Turtle Species of Murujuga
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Chapter Eighteen

Lifeways to Massacre: A History of Encounter across Dampier Archipelago

Modelling tools (ArcGIS 10.8.1 (ESRI 2021) with the 3D visualization platform of Terragen 4.5.7) have been used to develop coastal terrain models at Murujuga over the last 125,000 years. This provides a basis for interpreting human landscape use.

Lifeways to Massacre: A History of Encounter across Dampier Archipelago
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Chapter Nineteen

Visualising Murujuga sea level rise, cultural phases and individual sites

Visualising Murujuga sea level rise, cultural phases and individual sites
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