National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: David Lee

Affiliation: Independent Scholar

David Lee is an independent rock art researcher, author and lecturer focusing on the function and context of rock art in the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert, and the ethnography of Australian rock art. He has recorded Native American rock art in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Idaho, and has co-authored several papers and reports on the rock art of the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin. For the last ten years he has been studying rock art and associated traditional knowledge in the Northern Territory of Australia, and is currently assisting researchers at the Centre for Rock Art Research and Management at the University of Western Australia on the first international comparative study of arid lands rock art. 


Traditional forager peoples across the globe made rock art for thousands of years prior to colonization by Europeans. Most of the traditional knowledge concerning the images was lost when these cultures were displaced, absorbed, or wiped out. Research over the last few decades has shown remarkable global similarities in both traditional worldviews and the use of painted and carved images on rock surfaces to represent and convey very complex ideas and information. This lecture combines vivid photographs of rock art, people, animals, and exotic landscapes with insights gained over twenty years of researching and documenting rock art in western North America, and ten field seasons documenting rock art and associated traditional knowledge with the Wardaman people of northern Australia.

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