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Thousands of pieces of Aboriginal rock art in the Pilbara are set to be researched and catalogued under an alliance between Rio Tinto and the University of Western Australia.
AAP reports the study will focus on the National Heritage-listed Dampier Archipelago in WA’s north.
Some of the region’s rock art is thousands of years old and includes pictures of Tasmanian Tigers, which became extinct on Australia’s mainland around 3,500 years ago.
Pictures of kangaroos, turtles, and humans on boulders are also scattered through the region, making it one of the world’s richest collections of Aboriginal art.
According to AFP the six year $1.1 million study will go some way to forming an understanding of the carvings, which have never been fully documented.
AFP reports that carvings of faces on boulders in the Burrup peninsula could be among the earliest documented images of humans.
Activists have long complained the expanding mining industry around Dampier and Karratha poses a threat to the collection.
Image: Brolga Healing