Archaeology News

Marra Wonga Rockart

Published September 29, 2022
Marra Wonga: Archaeological and contemporary First Nations interpretations of one of central Queensland’s largest rock art sites.
A team of researchers from Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research and Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution have partnered with Yambangku Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development Aboriginal Corporation (YACHATDAC) to produce this paper.
This fascinating study aims to “describe the main features of the Marra Wonga rock shelter and its rock markings, to place it in historical and archaeological contexts”
The study also summarises the contemporary ethnographic interpretations of the site by working closely with the Iningai community.
A large sandstone rock art site, Marra Wonga, near Barcaldine, central Queensland, is the
focus of this paper. This 160-metre-long rock shelter is estimated to have over 15,000 petroglyphs, which are mostly animal tracks, lines, grooves and drilled holes, as well as 111 hand-related and object stencils. There is also a cluster of human-shaped foot petroglyphs on the floor of the shelter, some with six or more toes. Unique compositions on the shelter wall
include seven large, engraved star-like designs with central engraved pits and large,
engraved snake-like designs running across and through other petroglyphs. We describe
and discuss some of the features of Marra Wonga from archaeological (etic) and ethnographic (emic) perspectives, especially in terms of the significance of a petroglyph of an
anthropomorph, seven star-like designs seemingly made as part of a composition, the large snake-like designs, and six-toed human feet. Today, Marra Wonga is a teaching site used to
tell important cultural stories that are connected to many other places through the imagery
and Dreaming Tracks, as well as a tourist destination managed by the Yambangku
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development Aboriginal Corporation
(YACHATDAC), with whom we partnered for this research.
Visit the Griffith University Webpage to find out more:

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