Beyond the Dreamtime: archaeology and explorations of religious change in Australia.

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  • Author(s): Hiscock, Peter (AUTHOR)
  • Source:
    World Archaeology. Mar2013, Vol. 45 Issue 1, p124-136. 13p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      Changes in mythology and ritual practice are studied in southern Australia. In the early nineteenth century a reworked set of myths that have incorporated Christian motifs was grafted onto a pre-existing system of axe production, revealing the malleability of cosmological notions and the persistence of the tool production system. Transformations of mythology are displayed archaeologically in the disjunction between archaeological evidence of late Holocene axe exchange and historical statements of Aboriginal cosmology in southern Australia. This is a specific test of the widely held proposition that Aboriginal religion was stable. A number of archaeological studies now show significant, sometimes repeated, change in cosmology during the last millennium. Such studies not only illustrate the impact of external culture contact as a force generating religious change but also raise the possibility that the rate and magnitude of cosmological change may be able to be measured in ancient Australia. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]