Maree Man May 15, 2007 16:11:43 GMT -5
Post by Brad-LaSpirits on May 15, 2007 16:11:43 GMT -5
The above satellite and aerial photographs of the world's largest "geoglyph". Dubbed the "Maree Man" because of its proximity to a small village of population 80, called Maree in South Australia, the figure is 4km tall and 28km in circumference. The figure has been ploughed into a thin layer of red soil, which lies on a plateau of white chalk, 60kms from Maree, which is 600km north of Adelaide.
The huge line drawing depicts an aboriginal man, almost certainly a hunter but there are disputes and irregularities. For instance the man is holding his weapon in his left hand. There were false reports that the object in his hand was a club but it is in fact some form of throwing stick, either a boomerang or a spear. Dr Philip Jones, the head of anthropology at the South Australian Museum, says that it is a boomerang but the curve is hidden because of the angle of the image. A boomerang would have been carried at all times and thrown into flocks of birds by the Aborigines. If it were a spear, or woomera, it would have a spear head attached to the end and would have been held at a different angle, Jones likens the claims of the stick being a woomera to walking around with the stock of a gun and no barrel.
There are accuracies and inaccuracies, the posture of the non-throwing hand is the standard Aboriginal throwing technique, and there are perfectly placed initiation scars on the chest and excellent representations of the hair ties. All these are impressive when the huge scale is taken into account but the beard, chignon (hair style) and chest scars mean that the man depicted came from the central desert but that cultural region did not use throwing sticks for hunting.
A contract pilot, Mark Koster who takes people up in his plane to see the figure from the air says that the outline has blended in more with the surrounding area now and local authorities are not allowing people to dig the outline down to the chalk to make it more visible. The fact that whoever created it did not dig down a further few inches to the white chalk is also argued about. It is unlikely that they did not know that the chalk was there, due to the complex knowledge of the area they showed in the drawing itself so it would seem deliberate to only make a shallow rut for the outline.
Possible culprits include the local people of Maree, land artist Christopher Headly, Roxby Down miners, Australian Defense Forces and Americans. Headly had made previous large-scale drawings on the ground of items such as dolphins, camels and a cyclist but the largest of his creations was 300m across, and he claims that the Mareee Man wasn't his style.
The Western Mining Corporation, owners of the Roxby Down mine were contacted about the drawing. Richard Yeeles from WMC says he looked at whether employees or contactors could have done it, "and there is no possibility anyone associated with WMC did this."
Americans are suspected because of an alleged note containing Americanisms and imperial measurements and a claimed US flag found on the plateau in the tyre tracks of a four-wheel drive vehicle. These claims have been disputed and would seem unfounded.
There are reports of Australian military forces being in the area shortly before the Maree man was reported. People consider the military likely culprits because they are known for having a strange sense of humor and they would have the equipment for the job. Satellite photographs could have been studied to find the best location for the outline, a photograph could be scanned into a computer which could then scale up and plot out the coordinates of each point on the outline. Next using hand held GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) systems, the coordinates could be marked out using stakes in the ground. Adelaide surveyor Shayne Hennig says that from a surveying point of view it would not be too difficult, he adds that the army would have all the necessary equipment.
This is, however, Australia. Many local people would posses hand held GPS systems, and they would have the knowledge of the area already. This, coupled with the practical joke oriented society would lead you to believe that the local people of Maree could have made the Maree Man themselves to increase income for the area.
One question still remains, whoever made the Maree Man: is it art or vandalism? Due to a lack of evidence and the fact that no law was actually broken, the local Police have closed the case. Local Aborigines have taken offence at the drawing, especially as the figure does not have a loin cloth, which is yet another inaccuracy.
The contemporary art curator or The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Victoria Lynn, won't rule out the Maree Man as art because she says it depends on the context, art can be offensive, brutal and unwanted but since no one knows who did it or what their intentions were, "it's very difficult to know whether one can understand it as art or vandalism."