Journal of Urban Culture Research

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The destruction of rock art in the Burrup Peninsula, performed by several mammoth industries strategically located in the Peninsula since the 1960s, allows me to analyze the concept of heritage and find meaning in the difficult task of interpreting rock art. The Burrup Peninsula not only hosts the largest rock art site in the world, but also one of the largest deposits of natural gas, iron ore and salt. As a consequence, the land (sacred to the Indigenous people), becomes extremely important in order to sustain the booming economy of Australia. In this difficult negotiation between heritage and progress the rock art is embedded with new meanings and the heritage becomes ephemeral. Failing to include the site in the World Heritage Site list (UNESCO), the roles of identity and memory are contested. As a result, the concept of heritage can be defined on several levels: local, regional, national and international.



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