Art and Images in Psychiatry |

Australian Rock Art: The Giant Wallaroo Site

James C. Harris, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;68(10):989. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.123.
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Paleogenetic evidence2 directly links Australian aborigines to the exodus of early modern humans out of Africa 50 000 to 70 000 years ago. Moreover, the fossil record dates the prehistoric settlement of Australia to at least 46 000 years BP (before the present), making it home to the oldest early modern humans outside Africa. When Westerners came to Australia, they found aboriginal peoples living as hunter-gatherers and maintaining, as they had for millennia, rock art shelters that had cultural and spiritual meaning for them.3 The images are engraved, stenciled, or painted on the walls and ceilings of rock shelters and have ancestral meanings that living descendents could describe.


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