New Course in Rock Art Studies (Australia)

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Thylacinus cynocephalus

TRACCE no. 8 – by Alan Watchman


New Course in Rock Art Studies (Australia).The School of Anthropology and Archaeology, James Cook University in Townsville, Australia, is offering a new course in rock art studies for 1998.

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New course in rock art studies for 1998: Investigating Rock Art in Australia (AY5030). This course is available to Australian and international students of rock art.

Red, yellow and white female figures painted at a shelter inthe Jowalbinna area, Laura, north Queensland. This site is likely to be oneof several studied during the Winter Field School. Photograph AlanWatchman, permission from Ang-Gnarra Aboriginal Corporation

The new postgraduate course at Masters level will include a series of lectures in cultural and social anthropology, archaeology and prehistory as they relate to rock art, as well as conservation, site management and archaeometry.

Painting of what is regarded as the extinct thylacine(Thylacinus cynocephalus) at a rock shelter in western Arnhem Land, NorthernTerritory. Photograph by Alan Watchman

Painting of what is regarded as the extinct thylacine(Thylacinus cynocephalus) at a rock shelter in western Arnhem Land, NorthernTerritory. Photograph by Alan Watchman

Emphasis in the field school will be given to making detailed field observations about salts, dust, microorganisms and other natural factors affecting the stability of rock faces and rock pictures.

Technical aspects of rock art recording, conservation and dating will be described and opportunities will be given for ‘hands-on’ experience surveying, recording, assessing conditions and designing management plans for rock art panels and sites. Explanations will be provided as to how mineralogical and geochemical analyses can be used as aids in assessing rock surface and pigment conditions. Sampling techniques for paint analyses, salt and accretion identification and dating will be demonstrated.

A Sash Bradshaw figure, Gwion Gwion, from the Kimberleyregion, Western Australia. Photograph by Alan Watchman, permission fromKalumburu Community.

A Sash Bradshaw figure, Gwion Gwion, from the Kimberleyregion, Western Australia. Photograph by Alan Watchman, permission fromKalumburu Community.

Field classes will culminate in the drafting of site and rock panel management plans incorporating proposals for conservation treatments and protection measures.

The course will provide up to date knowledge and teach skills which will enhance the existing practical experience of cultural resource managers to help them preserve, protect and manage panels of rock pictures. The theoretical units taught via the internet will complement other courses in Cultural Heritage Studies and provide the basis for learning through practical classes and closely supervised projects during the intensive field school.

The course is designed to accommodate employed people who wish to upgrade their qualifications and enhance their practical experience in the field over a short period of time. The year-long course is structured to provide theory by using distance education (via the internet) for lectures and short assignments and ‘hands-on’ field experience during an intensive field school.

The course will begin as a three week Winter School in July 1998 (on campus lectures and tutorials for one week followed by practical demonstrations and field classes at a rock art site for two weeks). This will be followed by distance education units to be taught during second semester 1998 and first semester 1999.

The postgraduate course can be taken as a whole, in part and/or combined with other units offered by the school depending on individual student priorities (for example units in the Masters of Cultural Heritage Studies also taught at the JCU). Student numbers and staffing commitments will constrain the availability of the full course.

James Cook University is well placed to teach these new subjects because of the internationally recognised qualifications of staff, existing anthropological and archaeological research interests of staff and students, availability of teaching and research facilities at the Townsville and Cairns campuses, proximity to the fabulous bodies of rock art at Laura, Chillagoe and central Queensland and because of the excellent working relationships between JCU staff and Aboriginal communities.

For more information contact:
DrAlan Watchman
Coordinator of Prehistoric Rock Art Studies
School of Anthropology and Archaeology
James Cook University
Townsville, 4811
Telephone 61 (0)77 815155, FAX 61 (0)77 815244

Alan Watchman
(Dr) Coordinator, Prehistoric Rock Art Studies, School of Anthropology and Archaeology Faculty of Social Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, 4810 Queensland, Australia
Telephone: 61 77 815155 (Home 077 216093) – Fax: 61 77 815244
See Archaeology and Anthropology at James Cook University on our website

2nd International Congress of Rupestrian Archaeology

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