posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 01:07 AM
My family owns a few very large properties in the remote west of Queensland here in Australia. One of the properties has a significant cave system
running throughout it. When I was studying Anthropology at university, my uncle (who owns the property) arranged for an Aboriginal elder to guide me
through the caves and show me the ancient cave art.
It was absolutely mind-blowing. He said that archaeologists had dated the paintings as being almost 30 000 years old! Now that's an ancient site! The
paintings were beautiful. There were many hand prints on the walls and it was quite humbling to imagine somebody standing in that same spot 30 000
years ago and leaving their mark. There were also paintings of local animals - kangaroos, wombats, emus, as well as paintings of spirit creatures such
as quinkins, which are very tall spirits with long, spindly arms and legs that hide in the cracks between rocks.
Some of the caves were off limits to me, because they were for women's business and some of them were off limits to my mother, since they were for
men's business. In some caves, I had to be introduced to the local spirits so that they would not harm me. The elder explained to me the significance
of the paintings and the symbols used and showed me how some of the paintings were simple "I was here" type marks, whilst others told elaborate
stories from the Dreamtime.
All in all, the experience gave me a profound sense of the bond the Aboriginal people have with the land. It's one thing to read about ancient
cultures at university. It's another to stand a few feet away from beautiful art that was over 28 000 years old when Jesus was born.