This presentation will describe a rock engraving site in Mithaka Country in the iconic Channel Country of southwest Queensland. This is the first rock art site to be recorded in Mithaka Country, which is in a part of Australia’s sandy deserts where rock art is uncommon. The site has been given the name “Gilparrka” (the name of the creek where the site is located) “Almira” (meaning “paintings or etchings” in the Mithaka language). The site was recorded as part of the UQ Mithaka Archaeological Project, which was partly initiated by Mithaka Aboriginal people to extend and research their connections to Country. Mithaka Country lies in the approximate centre of an extensive ethnographic north-south trade network that focused on the narcotic plant pituri, pigments, stone materials and other commodities. This trade network covered vast areas of the Channel Country, the Lake Eyre Basin and beyond.

Gilparrka Almira was excavated recently as part of the Mithaka Archaeological Project to determine whether the engraved crescents, which constitute the majority of the motifs at the site, extended below ground level and consequently whether there might be potential to date the art. Preliminary results of the excavation are presented, and the possible cultural connections of the site with the Lake Eyre Basin trade network are explored.


About the presenters

Dr Natalie Franklin is an archaeologist and rock art specialist who has published widely in national and international journals and edited or authored a number of books, including Explorations of Variability in Australian Prehistoric Rock Engravings (which is in the UQ library) and the Rock Art News of the World series of volumes (Volume 6 has just been published by Archaeopress). Natalie has extensive research and fieldwork experience in Australia, Jordan, Turkey and Spain. She has considerable experience within the cultural heritage field, including in government and as a cultural heritage management consultant. Natalie is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the School of Social Science, University of Queensland.


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About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.