IMAGES: Rock-Art Festival

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Science  03 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5702, pp. 1661
DOI: 10.1126/science.306.5702.1661a

Getting lost in the outback was a trial for rancher Joseph Bradshaw and his brother, but it was a boon for rock-art enthusiasts. Wandering remote northwest Australia in 1891, the pair stumbled across stunning paintings, some of which are at least 17,000 years old. The works, along with many other examples of ancient creativity, are on display at this site from the Bradshaw Foundation, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The site's many educational features include photo surveys to a host of rock-art sites around the world. For example, a gallery showcases 32 of the so-called Bradshaw paintings. Who painted these statuesque, 73-centimeter-tall figures and what they signify remains a mystery. Other locales range from Easter Island to Twyfelfontein in Namibia, where beginning 6000 years ago, unknown artists engraved a menagerie of animals and speckled the rocks with golf ball-sized indentations. Be sure to check out the site's interactive map that traces the expansion of our species throughout the world.

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