Centre for Rock Art Research + Management

Centre for Rock Art Research + Management

Promoting understanding and conservation of Indigenous heritage.

CRAR+M is a collaboration including UWA researchers and Adjuncts from several faculties, schools and disciplines. The Centre's goals and values are enshrined in a Strategic Plan. CRAR+M has an Advisory Board to provide strategic advice on capacity building, research direction and Indigenous engagement to improve rock art research in Australia.

Areas of Focus

Rock art is universal evidence of our humanity. It includes pigment or engraved pictures fixed in place and part of the cultural landscape. Rock art has provided the mechanism for people to communicate with each other across space and time.

Painting of a Wandjina on pine board, collected by H. Petri in the northwest KimberleyPainting of a Wandjina on pine board, collected by H. Petri in the northwest Kimberley.
Photo: Anthropology Department, copyright Western Australian Museum, E10452

For thousands of years, people around the world have been inscribing pictures on fixed, rocky surfaces.

Rock art is laden with cultural information that is used to learn more about people’s stories, history, relationships to land, social boundaries, belief systems, and interaction or communication with others.

These images are an enduring and visual historical record of people’s symbolic lives.  The study of rock art helps us bring the human landscape to life. Australia is home to more than 100,000 known and documented rock art sites, and many more remain unrecorded.

Unlike most other parts of the world, knowledge about rock art remains strong amongst Indigenous Australian groups: stories about symbolism and meanings are passed down from generation to generation, and in some cases directly from the artists themselves.

Western Australia features some of Australia’s most spectacular rock art galleries.  Few landscapes offer as much tangible evidence of human history as the Pilbara, Kimberley and Western Desert regions. This situation presents archaeologists and rock art researchers with an extraordinary opportunity to learn more about the rich visual histories associated with rock art.