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Dampier rock art seeks WHL
An article from Australia by Angus Sargent on ABC - Push for Burrup site to get UNESCO heritage status - reports that archaeologists and traditional owners are calling for an Indigenous area in Western Australia's north to become the first cultural site in Australia to be nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status.
Burrup Rock petroglyphs. Image: Hugh Brown
According to the article, the Dampier Archipelago contains some of the oldest rock art in the world, in a world where human occupation dates back almost 50,000 years.
With less and less reliance in this area on mining, tourism is seen by many in the north as a key area of growth. Local Indigenous tour operator Clinton Walker said the nomination would go a long way to promoting the Pilbara as a tourist destination, and the rock art is the key component.
Archaeologist Jo McDonald on Enderby Island in the Dampier Archipelago with an ancient rock carving of a fish. Image: ABC
Clearly the rock art must be protected: the Archipelago has national heritage protection, but to qualify for World Heritage status a site must satisfy one of 10 criteria set out by the World Heritage Committee.
Archaeologist Jo McDonald has spent the past ten years researching and dating rock carvings both on the Burrup Peninsula and on islands in the Archipelago, with assistance and guidance from rangers from the local Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation. She claims the area has already satisfied 4 of the requirements.
Moreover, she feels that Australia deserves an Indigenous site listed on the World Heritage List (WHL).
The State Government must support any nomination of a site in order for the Federal Government to present it the World Heritage Committee. In a statement, Environment Minister Albert Jacob did not comment on the possibility of World Heritage nomination, but said he supported current protections in place for the area.
Read more about the Ancient Art of Dampier:
Visit the Australian Rock Art Archive: