Ayodhya (WAB 9:16)

Professor Peter Ucko has noted that he was not a member of the WAC Executive in 1994, as Rowlands and Funari state he was. Rather, he was interviewed about the Ayodhya matter because he had been helping the WAC President, Professor Golson, with the planning of the Delhi Congress.

Jinmium (WAB 9:32-37)

Dr Paul Taçon asked that the following letter be published after it proved impossible to organize a correction from the author of the article in question owing to scheduling and communications difficulties.

Dear Dr. Owen,

I enjoyed your paper on Jinmium dating in volume 9 of the World Archaeological Bulletin. A more balanced, rational approach to archaeological dating, such as yours, is badly needed. However, there is a fundamental error that needs correcting. On page 33 you state “Another indication of Jinmium’s antiquity is the scientifically-ascertained age (30,000 years) assigned to rock art in the site (Taçon et al. 1997), which was based upon bees-wax figures adhering to the walls of the rockshelter”. In the references you then refer to a 1997 paper that has not been published, rather than the correct and very different paper in the journal Antiquity. Indeed, I spoke with Graeme Ward, editor of the workshop book you referred to, who said the book, and the paper, will not be published until late this year or early next year (nothing came out in 1997). Furthermore, it reports on a completely different study, widely separated in space, time and cultural affiliation. Finally, beeswax dating was only a very small component of the Jinmium rock-art study, with such figures having only been produced in the past couple hundred years (see Taçon et. al 1997:958).The correct reference to cite is: Taçon, P., R. Fullagar, S. Ouzman and K. Mulvaney 1997. Cupule engravings from Jinmium-Granilpi (northern Australia) and beyond: exploration of a widespread and enigmatic class of rock markings. Antiquity 71(2740:942-65.I feel strongly that a correction should be published in the next issue of the Bulletin so that interested scholars may be directed to the right sources and so our work will not be misinterpreted, as so often happens with the enigma called Jinmium! Finally, you will be interested to know that a variety of evidence confirms a lengthy occupation for Jinmium, certainly beyond 6-10,000 years as the OSL ‘experts’ claim. However, the oldest levels of the deposit are likely not older than other old Australian sites, perhaps in the order of 40,000 or more years. Future excavation, rock art research and dating (over the next 2-3 years) will hopefully clarify matters.

Yours sincerely,

(Dr.) Paul S.C. Taçon

Head of the People and Place Research Centre

Australian Museum