To date, approximately 250 Aboriginal sites have been recorded in and around Weld Range. Ethnographic Sites identified include a variety of site types described as natural features, plant resources, hunting places, meeting places, ceremonial places and mythological areas. They indicate that there is an abundant array of resources and important places that attracted people to the Weld Range. Historic camp sites are also noted in the area illustrating the continued connection to and maintenance of this area into the present.
A wide variety of archaeological site types have also been identified, the most common archaeological sites recorded in the area are artefact scatters, quarry/artefact scatters, occupied rock shelters and multi-component sites. The multi–component sites include artefact scatters, quarries, rock shelters, ethnographic features, paintings, engravings, water sources, grinding material, stone arrangements and/or modified trees. Site locations are influenced by the landscape with sites generally located near water sources and in proximity to other resources such as suitable stone outcrops or plant resources on the open flats. Results of previous surveys within SMCL‘s Weld Range Projects have also revealed a high density of sites or unusually large sites.
The ethnographic significance of Weld Range has also been documented through audio-visual consultations with a number of Native Title Claim representatives as recorded in August 2005. The audio-visual footage details the dreaming story of the Marlu (Red Kangaroo) who was injured and the fluids that pooled where he rested (blood, fat) created ochre deposits. Different fluids lost as a result of the injury created different coloured ochre, for example blood created red ochre while fat created yellow ochre. According to Wadjari tradition Wilgie Mia is the site where the Marlu died after coming through the Weld Range. As the place of the Marlu’s death, Wilgie Mia is a substantial deposit of high quality red ochre. This story of the Marlu reflects Kingsford’s ethnographic documentation of Wilgie Mia (1982). A Wadjari representative noted that it is the whole range, not just the ochre sites that are significant: ““the kangaroo travelled along those hills … now the old hills they are sacred to us … the whole lot” (Wadjari representative, audio-visual recording, 2005).
SMC has been supportive of the “Web of Knowledge” project which is a three year, federally funded, archaeological research project to investigate culturally significant archaeological sites in Wajarri country at the Weld Range, Murchison region, Western Australia.
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