Obligations to objects: tangled histories and changing contexts of the Burnett River Rock Engravings

Asmussen, Brit, Hil, Lester Michael, Ulm, Sean, and Knowles, Chantal (2016) Obligations to objects: tangled histories and changing contexts of the Burnett River Rock Engravings. Museum Worlds: advances in research, 4. pp. 78-94.

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Abstract

This article discusses changing obligations toward objects from an archaeological site held by the Queensland Museum, through a long-term, 40-year case study. Between 1971 and 1972 a selection of 92 stone blocks weighing up to 5 tons containing Aboriginal engravings were cut out of the site and distributed to multiple locations across Queensland by the State Government under the provisions of the then Aboriginal Relics Preservation Act 1967. The site was subsequently flooded following dam construction and the removed blocks became part of the Queensland Museum's collection. This article chronicles the history of the site and its "salvage," the consequences of fragmentation of the site for community and institutions, the creation of 92 museum objects, the transformation from immobile to mobile cultural heritage, and community- led requests for their repatriation back to country.

Item ID: 46732
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2049-6737
Keywords: Burnett River Engravings; cultural heritage; engravings; identity; museum archaeology; repatriation; rock art; sacred objects
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Future Fellowship FT120100656
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2016 01:47
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 80%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2102 Curatorial and Related Studies > 210204 Museum Studies @ 20%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 100%
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Last 12 Months: 30
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