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.
|Title of host publication||The Archaeology of Portable Art|
|Subtitle of host publication||Southeast Asian, Pacific, and Australian Perspectives|
|Editors||Michelle C. Langley, Mirani Litster, Duncan Wright, Sally K. May|
|Place of Publication||United Kingdom|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2018|