|Introduction To Aboriginal Technology||| Print ||
Introduction To Aboriginal Technology
Aboriginal technologies had, and continue to have, a close relationship to The Dreaming.Particular people in a language group earned the right to develop and use particular forms of technology. A stone axe, for example, was taken from the land by Ancestral Beings and fashioned in a complex and skilled way before being passed on to be used in a way dictated by those Ancestral Beings. The law of The Dreaming made the rights for a particular person or persons to be involved in this Dreaming.Some Dreaming and technology relationships were particularly for men, some particularly for women and some particularly for Elders.
Information pertaining to technology was passed on through Elders at appropriate times in a selected person's life. Generally this occurred after initiation or puberty for children. All persons in a family group needed to understand the law associated with technology. They would know who had the rights to what knowledge and the protocols associated with the use or non-use of objects, instruments, tools and processes.
There are many Dreaming stories that talk about the White Ant Ancestors who carved the Didgeridoo. The right to fashion and play the Didgeridoo belonged to a few. Those men who had a direct relationship with their White Ant Ancestors were the only men able to make and use the Didgeridoo. Other Dreaming stories discussed the consequences of touching or playing the Didgeridoo outside of this relationship. Some Aboriginal women believe that they can fall pregnant, become ill or die if they touch or play the Didgeridoo. These beliefs need to be respected and observed.
Traditional Aboriginal technology was not simple. It involved a complex understanding of the many sciences and their associated processes. An understanding of the laws of physics and the complexities of aerodynamics enabled the skilled creation of the boomerang, the spear, the woomera and the bull roarer. A deep understanding of biology and chemistry enabled Aboriginal people to select foods from nature at the correct times and to use complex processes to extract toxins from plants and animals.
Some of the sharpest cutting edges used in Australia before European contact were made from natural glass. These were flaked with amazing symmetry and were sharper than any blade available in Europe.A network of fish-traps and systems of weirs have been found and recorded by archaeologists. These have been in operation for many hundreds of years. These walls, traps and races were erected to artificially connect lakes and swamps and portion off segments of seas to capture eels, fish and shell fish. Most of these practises are recorded in the current lifestyles of Aboriginal people today and through many oral histories passed down.
The outdated and misinformed notions that Aboriginal people wandered aimlessly over the continent are challenged by the findings of sophisticated houses partly dug into the ground and seemingly permanent. The term village was even used by colonial observers in colder climates of Australia. This provides us with evidence of a permanent society.Aboriginal technologies in various forms, i.e. tools, weapons, utensils, housing, bush food and bush medicines have developed over thousands of years. Although we can find many artefacts, tools and implements from traditional Aboriginal societies in museums and galleries all over the world the greatest evidence of the sophistication of Aboriginal technologies is in their use in today's modern society.