FROM A SCIENTIFIC perspective, Aboriginal people entered the landmass of Sahul (greater Australia) more than fifty thousand years ago and were in the Pilbara region of Western Australia by 42,000 BP (Before Present). There they etched marks and images into the region’s hard rock surfaces to create an enduring treasure of abundant rock art for their own cultural life, and a priceless legacy for generations to come.
Nowhere is this more evident than on the Dampier Archipelago, where up to a million images are visible – the densest accumulation of engraved rock art (petroglyphs) in the world. These petroglyphs display a great variety of subjects and styles, documenting shifting artistic fashions and embodying cultural, ecological and environmental changes across millennia. These ancient art galleries occur in association with other archaeological features, including artefact scatters, shell middens and stone arrangements, all in a landscape that has become an industrial hub for mining and petrochemical industries.
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