Reclaiming Rock Art: Descendant Community Investment in Australian and New Zealand Patrimony

  • Kristin M. BarryEmail author
Part of the One World Archaeology book series (WORLDARCH)


Abstract visual culture, such as pictographs and petroglyphs can be difficult to interpret and contextualize for the general public, particularly as they hold significant religious or cultural value associated with the peoples who created them. Descendant communities, therefore, can play a prominent and important role in the interpretation, by reinforcing the meaning and significance behind the imagery as part of broader cultural movements or traditions. In New Zealand and Australia, two projects designed and managed by indigenous communities are helping to engage the public not only in an understanding of local and national rock art, but in its continuing conservation. The Te Ana Māori Rock Art Center in Timaru, New Zealand, and the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Center in Halls Gap, Australia both rely on the active investment of their respective indigenous communities to promote the wellbeing of heritage material and the continued conversation surrounding its creation. Also addressing issues of racism, colonization, and the forced removal of indigenous populations from their heritage landscapes, the projects interpret the historical material alongside modern ideas and perspectives, helping to initiate connections between the past and present.


Rock art Heritage interpretation Community engagement Descendant communities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureBall State UniversityMuncieUSA

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