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Towards a theory of landscape iconoclasm

Version 2 2024-06-13, 09:27
Version 1 2015-10-13, 10:46
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-13, 09:27 authored by J Gonzalez Zarandona
The destruction of Indigenous rock art sites in the Pilbara district in Western Australia has become a natural sight within the mining landscape of the area. Whilst much of the destruction is explained as acts of vandalism and as a result of the industrial activities that are propelling the Australian economy, I claim that a new theory of iconoclasm is needed to explain fully this disastrous example of heritage conservation. Henceforth, in order to explain the destruction of the Murujuga/Burrup Peninsula petroglyphs, the largest archaeological site in the world, this paper develops the theory of landscape iconoclasm. This theory states that the destruction of Indigenous landscapes can be compared to the destruction of religious images, by analysing the inherent symbolic functions of iconoclasm, together with those of heritage, the better to elucidate the state of affairs in the Murujuga/Burrup Peninsula. Furthermore, by drawing from Aboriginal mythology and art-historical and anthropological theories, the theory of landscape iconoclasm is able to explain the destruction of archaeological sites within a framework that falls outside prevalent discourses of heritage.

History

Alternative title

Towa

Journal

Cambridge archaeological journal

Volume

25

Pagination

461-475

Location

Cambridge, Eng.

ISSN

1474-0540

eISSN

1474-0540

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Cambridge University Press

Issue

2

Publisher

Cambridge University Press