Archaeology: Prehistoric Line Markings
I suggest that some prehistoric line markings found in European and Australasian caves are a notation system, or a mnemonic system of communication. I also propose an empirical means, based on Alexander Marshack, Robert Bednarik, Michel Lorblanchet, and Francesco d’Errico’s methods of internal analysis, to help elucidate my theory, and suggest a series of testable propositions for Koonalda Cave (South Australia) and its finger markings. If the propositions hold up, they suggest that each set of clusters of markings with similar structures depict a myth story told in the cave. I also describe the methodology and results of an experimental approach to the analysis of finger markings. The approach I adopt is relatively objective and will, I hope, facilitate the progress of future research confirming the importance of line markings.
At present, I conceive of my work here as focused on a book, Our Ancestors Touch Us: The Writing of Early Humans, with development and presentations of the ideas in articles, papers, and presentations.
I carried out my work in Koonalda Cave, South Australia, a number of years ago, but the puzzle as to what the line markings mean continues to intrigue me. I hope in time to put up on this site some of my earlier works from the period of my youthful explorations. What I do have up are several works from the recent past and some currently in progress that revisit my early unpublished writings and some that try to take my ideas further.
The revisited papers include:
A book, Koonalda: Prehistoric Mind and an Australian Cave, describes many aspects of Koonalda Cave and the Nullarbor Plain under which it lies. I will post the synopsis, introduction, and one chapter of the book on this site.
I am also developing new research techniques and hypotheses as to the significance of the markings found in Koonalda Cave to their makers.
Since then, Mary Lacombe and I (sometimes with Helen Fawbert) have prepared presentations for three international rock art congresses and resulting publications. The works below are in chronological order and will show how our ideas have developed about the lines' meaning and experiments about how the lines were made.
We are currently working on further experiments and in-the-field research for a presentation in 2000.
Click here for some older but interesting ideas that I've had or come across, including some regarding prehistoric line markings.