Tales of a fat-tailed macropod

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In 1977, while undertaking a developer-funded archaeological field survey, I acquired a small stone slab on which is engraved a motif of a macropod with a fat or bulging tail. In this chapter, I draw on object-place attributes (sex of the animal, hilltop location, portability, size or scale, design flexibility) to propose a narrative of emergent human-animal cosmologies in Late Pleistocene Australia. This framing, I argue, points to a distinctive precursor of interspecies entanglement and more-than-human kinship systems characteristic of Late Holocene and contemporary Australian Aboriginal society. To my mind, the fat-tailed macropod motif is not representational, but rather was ‘congealed’ in the landscape and revealed by the act of engraving, an act that neither divides ecology from art nor human from non-human.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Archaeology of Portable Art
Subtitle of host publicationSoutheast Asian, Pacific, and Australian Perspectives
EditorsMichelle C. Langley, Mirani Litster, Duncan Wright, Sally K. May
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781315299105
ISBN (Print)9781138237766
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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