Jawoyn country contains vast numbers of ancestral sites that remain largely unknown to present-day Jawoyn people. In 2005, the Jawoyn Association began the Jawoyn Rock Art and Heritage Program to provide opportunities and frameworks by which ancestral places can be appropriately connected with and managed.
Towards this, the Jawoyn Association has created a GIS database by which cultural places can be recorded and monitored. Each site complex, and each site within a complex, is given a Jawoyn site code.
Connecting Country will undertake archaeological, geomorphological and biogeographic research at some of the key sites identified by the Jawoyn Association, as a way of finding out about the long-term history of Jawoyn country.
Geomorphological and biogeographic (e.g. pollen) research will be undertaken on landscape features such as swamps, waterholes and rock outcrops, so as to understand the history of the environment.
Sites with archaeological evidence will be studied to determine the age and nature of ancestral occupation and site use, including painting and certain ritual activities.
Rock art, ritual and other kinds of sites will be recorded and in some cases archaeologically excavated.
The project will commence with archaeological excavations at the following sites:
- Nawarla Gabarnmang
- Genyornis painting site
- Genyornis occupation site
- Site DBS-23, a small rock art site in site complex ARN-113
- Boat occupation site
- Site 5 at site complex ARN-99, known as the “Many bolong” site
- Shelter E at site complex ARN-48
- Site 1 at site complex A-71, a partly-buried stone arrangement
The remarkably intact galngbuy site ARN-58, associated with the major wubar totemic cycle, will be recorded and radiocarbon-dated.
Our major aim is to connect the excavated sequences, ritual sites and rock art to arrive at an understanding of Jawoyn country at individual sites and across the landscape.