Bonding and Bounding in Australian Rock Art: The Panaramitee Tradition and Simple Figurative Styles
Natalie R. Franklin [+]
University of Western Australia
The Panaramitee tradition is a corpus of mostly track and non-figurative rock engravings found throughout Australia, with most sites occurring in the arid zone, while by contrast, the Simple Figurative represents a diverse group of rock painting and engravings styles that are mostly figurative in nature and occur in resource-rich areas. This paper discusses the results of multivariate analyses of Panaramitee tradition rock engravings and Simple Figurative paintings and engravings. It finds that there are similarities, regional differences and differential diversity in motif content within the Panaramitee, and regional differences and some similarities in the Simple Figurative. The results are interpreted within a demographic, social and symbolic framework that has been proposed for the late Pleistocene archaeological record in Australia. They reflect: for the Panaramitee tradition, spatial similarities and differences within the widespread links forged by ritual Dreaming tracks that sometimes spanned the continent, and the need for local identity signaling behaviour in a societal context of group aggregation in Australia’s arid zone; and, for the Simple Figurative styles, differences in territoriality and boundary maintenance, which can also be explained within a societal and environmental context.