Recent survey in the Gulf of Carpentaria region of northern Australia has identified a unique assemblage of 17 miniature and small-scale stenciled motifs depicting anthropomorphs, material culture, macropod tracks and linear designs.
The unusual sizes and shapes of these motifs raise questions about the types of material used for the stencil templates.
What stands out is a strange human-like figure, a huge face next to the human-like figure and an alien face at the bottom left of the image.
Image left: Alien Face – Image center: Human-like figure – Image right: Face.
Drawing on ethnographic data and experimental archaeology, the authors argue that the motifs were created with a previously undocumented stenciling technique using miniature models sculpted from beeswax.
The results suggest that beeswax and other malleable and adhesive resins may have played a more significant role in creating stenciled motifs than previously thought.