, 9 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1/ Nawarla Gabarnmung is one of the largest & most impressive #PrehistoricArt sites in Australia. The entire rock shelter is man-made. The Jawoyn, who created it, quarried out loose stone from the cliff-face, leaving behind supporting pillars. Some of the ceiling #art is 28kya+
^^Photo by John Gollings
2/ Whilst we don't know the definitive age of all the paintings, we do know the site has been in use for 45,000 years, thanks to the archaeological record. It only fell out of use by the Jawoyn in the 1950s & was unkown to Westerners until as late as 2006!
3/ Whilst we can't date all of the art, this tiny fragment of rock that fell from the ceiling has given us some insight. Radiocarbon dating of the charcoal marking tells us that it is at least 28kya. Whereas the oldest charcoal deposits in the archaeological record go back 35kya!
4/ Within the wider context of prehistoric art, there's lots of unusual paintings at Gabarnmung...including some of the oldest known depictions of people having sex!

Can you spot the x-rated artwork in this image?
5/ This barramundi has been painted in the "x-ray tradition", native to Arnhem Land in northern Australia. What at first might appear to be stylistic patterning, is actually a careful depiction of muscle tissue, nerves, organs & bones!
6/ Aside from the barramundi, which are numerous here (unusual to see so many fish in cave art), the most common animals depicted are kangaroos/wallabies (unsurprisingly) & crocodiles!
7/ It's not all animals either, plenty of stylised human figures adorn the walls of Gabarnmung. This is a woman in a traditional headdress.
8/ Finally, I'll leave you with my favourite panel: an enigmatic kangaroo done in the x-ray style. You can even see the organs in its chest! Some of the earliest #sciart?
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