22.01.2016 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Survey of Rock Art Sites at the Nino Konis Santana National Park

©UNESCO Jakarta/Wieske Sapardan

A survey of selected rock sites at the Nino Konis Santana National Park in Timor-Leste was conducted on 20-21 January 2016 by two experts on stone conservation, Professor Hans Leisen and Dr. Esther Von-Plehwe Leisen. The rock art sites of Lene Cece, Lene Hara and Moa Mimi Raka in Tutuala, Lautem District were visited in order for the experts to make a documentation and conservation analysis of the rock art sites, develop holistic management plans addressing conservation issues and provide support to the local custodians in the day-to-day conservation management of these areas.

The survey is part of the activities implemented within the framework of UNESCO project entitled, ‘First Phase Community Based Conservation of Rock Art for Sustainable Development at the Nino Konis Santana National Park, Lautém District, Timor-Leste’, supported by the Federal Republic of Germany. Also participating in the survey were Mrs Cecilia Assis, Mr Abilio da Silva and Dr. Nuno Oliveira from the State Secretariat of Arts and Culture of Timor-Leste, Mr Alexander Thielitz (German Embassy in Jakarta), Mr Jeffrey Lee and Ms Gabrielle O’Loughlin (Kakadu National Park, Australia), as well as Mr Bernards Zako and Ms Wieske Sapardan (UNESCO Office, Jakarta).   The project, implemented in close cooperation with the State Secretariat of Arts and Culture of Timor-Leste is aimed to support community custodians and local and government agencies to undertake best practice conservation of the rock art of the Nino Konis Santana National Park, in order to safeguard this significant heritage, whilst generating sustainable tourism and development opportunities for local communities. The survey will be followed by a workshop on the conservation and management of rock art site to be held at the Los Palos Cultural Centre in Lautem District on 22-23 January 2016.

To date, there are more than 30 rock art sites identified in Timor-Leste with hundreds of image known. The identified rock art sites are the result of more than 10 year investigation conducted by Professor Sue O’Connor of the Australian National University (ANU). The Lene Hara rock art site contains a number of images including a human figure armed with a bow and an arrow hunting an animal figure represented by two geometric symbols. Whereas, the Lene Cece rock art site shows a boat with human figures similar to those depicted on the Dong Song drum (of Vietnam origin) alongside solar and animal motives. The Moa Mimi Raka is known for its hand and arm stencils technique used in rock art paintings. This technique involved blowing of pigment - generally made of red ocre - either through a bamboo or directly from the mouth, over the hand, body part or object lying against the rock.


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