Australia has myriad rock art places that have special significance to their many Indigenous owners and a heritage resource of outstanding universal value to all humankind. The appropriate management of those places involves particular heritage considerations because of the multiple layers of significance at stake. The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act of 1999, a federal instrument, defines the criteria for the recognition of national heritage values and forms the basis for identifying the most significant natural and cultural heritage places in Australia. This chapter provides a research-based management logic for including significant rock art places on Australia’s National Heritage List. This thematic approach, founded on current Australian rock art research, recognizes the thematic structure adopted by UNESCO in its assessment of World Heritage Outstanding Universal Values, since there are logical synergies for synchronizing Australia’s National Heritage List with World Heritage Listing.
The aim of this chapter is to review basic components and procedures regarding rock art conservation and management for archaeologists and anybody else who may be interested in such endeavours. Rock art considered relevant to this chapter includes iconographic pictures, ‘abstract’ designs, and any other artificial discernable markings placed on rock surfaces (including sideward-facing vertical cliffs, cave walls, downward-facing ceilings, side- and upward-facing boulders [either natural or placed there by people], and upward-facing horizontal bedrock pavements). This chapter emphasizes that proper knowledge of and experience in working with rock art in any particular area is essential when recording, conserving, managing, and interpreting it. Proper identification, knowledge, and recording of rock art include various scales of observation, ranging from the macro-landscape scale to the micro-scale of rock surface stratigraphy. Coming up with practical solutions requires a working knowledge of both the physical sciences and the humanities.
Questions of legal and cultural rights over rock art are particularly compelling given the very different significance the art holds for Indigenous people compared to that recognized by a more general public. In the past, conflicts have arisen between the interests of the Indigenous people and those of the nation state, or of non-Indigenous mining or tourism ventures. This chapter examines the legal rights that Indigenous people have to rock art sites on their land, as well as legal issues arising over the ownership and reproduction of rock art. It examines intellectual property law, including copyright, trade marks, and breach of confidence laws, as well as cultural heritage protection laws. Finally, it considers some of the broader cultural and ethical issues raised by non-Indigenous use of rock art imagery.
Bruno David and Ian J. McNiven
This Introduction to The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Rock Art highlights a number of conceptual themes and issues that go to the heart of rock art research. Rock art research in the early twenty-first century is daunting in its complexity and scope due largely to major technological advances in digital recording and chronometric dating, the increasing employment of sophisticated methods and theories harnessed not just from archaeology and anthropology but also from a wide array of disciplines, and greater awareness of Indigenous voices, ethical responsibilities, and political sensitivities of working collaboratively with Indigenous communities. As archaeological and anthropological approaches to rock art mutually inform each other’s research agendas, new methodological and theoretical ways of approaching, conceptualising, and historicising rock art symbolism, biography, authorship, gender, sexuality, spiritualism, agency, and relationality continue to develop to shape future research agendas.
This chapter addresses issues related to light–object interaction along with its resulting phenomena, taking into consideration materiality issues. It presents light and its role in artefacts studies, either as a tool for finds analysis or as a corrosion agent. It attempts a balanced investigation into past and contemporary approaches towards light from the conservator’s perspective. It discusses traditional raking and oblique light examination, along with its advanced digital analogue, Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), which bridges the gap between digital photography and three-dimensional modelling. Applications of dome and/or Highlight RTI in a wide variety of material and artefact types, as well as in a wide range of conservation states, using macroscopic and microscopic means, indicate that the technique contributes considerably in prevention, investigation, examination and analysis, documentation, communication, dissemination, and presentation, as well as being a conservation monitoring tool.
This chapter explores the relationship between graffiti and rock art in the context of archaeological and heritage studies. It outlines how archaeologists, and particularly rock art scholars, have approached graffiti and addresses the complexities of terminology and contested values common to this field of study. The author argues against an oversimplified polemic that has hampered the progression of graffiti/rock art research, suggesting that much may be learned about processes of identification, evaluation, and interpretation by considering graffiti and rock art as associated, albeit distinct, practices of inscription. Through an investigation of two specific sites of historical inscription—Alcatraz Island (San Francisco, US) and the North Head Quarantine Station (Sydney, Australia)—the chapter demonstrates the powerful role that inscription practices play in the making and unmaking of places and the meanings they carry.
Mélanie Duval, Christophe Gauchon, and Benjamin W. Smith
Rock art tourism facilities at publicly accessible sites range widely from a total absence of purpose-built infrastructure to multimillion-dollar interpretation centres, and from free and unrestricted visitation to full fee-paying, highly mediated visitation experiences run by tourism professionals. This chapter addresses questions surrounding the principles and practices of rock art tourism development in conjunction with issues of heritage management and conservation; each site is different, and development practices in one area cannot simply be transferred to another, although common methodologies may be followed. The most appropriate developments are constructed by first understanding the significance of places through genuine consultative processes that include all interested parties. Using examples from around the world, the authors provide an historical overview of rock art tourism in caves and open-air sites and discuss integrated rock art tourism management with a focus on conservation, interpretation, territoriality, and cultural connectivities.
Tribal governments in the Southwest employ a number of individuals to help with the preservation of tribal values and places. In this chapter, Theresa Pasqual, former director of Acoma Pueblo’s Historic Preservation Office and an Acoma tribal member, talks about her professional pathway, how Acoma has worked with other tribes to protect traditional cultural properties (TCPs), the challenges that tribes face in implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and how tribal values can be incorporated into the preservation process. Based on her long experience, she emphasizes the importance of stewardship, listening, and collaboration—with the latter including collaboration between tribes as well as with archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians. She also provides insights into the process for the recent successful nomination of Mount Taylor to the New Mexico Register of Cultural Historic Properties, the largest such property currently on the register.