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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines rock art as cultural expressions of social relationships and kinship. More specifically, it considers the type(s) of relationships that exist or emerge in Indigenous contexts and how appreciation of these relationships can elucidate the meaning, symbolism, and significance of rock art. It first explores the relational contexts of rock art by citing examples involving sorcery before discussing the social embeddedness of rock art and the network of relationships that rock art operates within. It then analyzes the regional relatedness and social connectedness of rock art and shows that the breadth of relationships into which rock art is embedded involves ontology and epistemology. The chapter uses a series of case studies drawn primarily from rock art research with Yanyuwa, a maritime-oriented Indigenous language group in northern Australia’s southwest Gulf country, supplemented with examples from the American Southwest and other areas within Australia.

Keywords: rock art, social relationships, kinship, sorcery, regional relatedness, social connectedness, ontology, epistemology, Yanyuwa, Australia

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