October 22, 2008--
Paintings of sailboats, ocean liners, and biplanes adorn newfound rock shelters in the remote Aboriginal territory of Arnhem Land in northern Australia
Researchers working with Aboriginal elder Ronald Lamilami discovered thousands of the paintings--including the largest rock-art site in Australia--during an expedition in August and September 2008. (See full story
"It is the most important
rock art in the whole world" that shows contact with other cultures, said lead researcher Paul Tacon of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.
"It is truly amazing."
The rock art, which ranges from 15,000 years old to 50 years old, chronicles Aborigine life, including scenes depicting relationships with other cultures.
This runs contrary to a long-held belief that Aborigines were isolated throughout most of their history, experts say.
Photograph by Rick Stevens