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Sites include occupation deposits in rock shelters, quarries where stone material was extracted and processed for tool making, human burial sites, stone or bone arrangements, surface scatters of stone, and earth and shell mounds.
Mimi spirits were the first of the Creation Ancestors to paint on rock.
Rock paintings are generally found in sheltered areas away from the direct effects of the elements, but even the most protected sites can be damaged by the actions of water, animals, insects, plants and people. Boardwalks also prevent dust from being stirred up and coating the paintings.
In Dreaming painting, use special paint, ochre, blood. Pruning, clearing and controlled burning help reduce risks from wildfire and plants rubbing against the rocks.
Generally, the act of painting was more important than the painting itself so many older paintings have been covered by more recent paintings: the artist was not concerned about preserving an image for posterity but simply wanted to paint to tell a story.
The stories and knowledge associated with many paintings often have a number of levels.
Younger people and non-Aboriginal people are told the first level, known as the 'public story'.
Look for naturalistic paintings of animals, traditional x-ray art, and paintings of early contact with European people.
Here are some links to information about our more iconic and accessible rock art galleries at Kakadu.