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The destruction of heritage: rock art in the Burrup Peninsula

Gonzalez Zarandona, Jose Antonio 2011, The destruction of heritage: rock art in the Burrup Peninsula, International journal of the humanities, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 325-341.

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Title The destruction of heritage: rock art in the Burrup Peninsula
Author(s) Gonzalez Zarandona, Jose AntonioORCID iD for Gonzalez Zarandona, Jose Antonio orcid.org/0000-0002-3655-5898
Journal name International journal of the humanities
Volume number 9
Issue number 1
Start page 325
End page 341
Total pages 27
Publisher Common Ground Publishing
Place of publication Champaign, Ill.
Publication date 2011
ISSN 1447-9508
Keyword(s) destruction
heritage
colonialism
identity
land
Summary The destruction of rock art in the Burrup Peninsula, performed by several mammoth industries strategically located in the Peninsula since the 1960s, allows me to analyse the concept of heritage within a global history of art and find meaning in the difficult task of interpreting rock art. The Burrup Peninsula not only hosts the largest rock art site in the world, but also one of the largest deposits of natural gas, iron ore and salt. As a consequence, the land (sacred to the Indigenous people), becomes extremely important in order to sustain the booming economy of Australia. In this difficult negotiation between heritage and progress the rock art is embedded with new meanings and the heritage becomes ephemeral. Failing to include the site in the World Heritage Site list created by UNESCO, the roles of identity and memory are contested by the two groups represented on each side of the debate: on one hand, the Aboriginal Traditional owners and the archaeologists; on the other, the Australian government and the cultural establishment that denies the rock art an aesthetic significance by considering it “primitive” and “archaic”. The debate becomes even more pertinent after realizing that the Australian government has flagged other buildings and natural parks as World Heritage Sites, while the rock art in the Burrup Peninsula is catalogued as national, but not World, Heritage. As a result, the concept of heritage can be defined on several levels: local, regional, national and international.
Language eng
Field of Research 200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2011, The Author
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30079906

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Alfred Deakin Research Institute
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