Ochre: an ancient health-giving cosmetic

Prepared by Ken Macintyre and Barb Dobson Research anthropologists ‘Both sexes smear their faces and the upper part of the body with red pigment (paloil), mixed with grease, which gives them a disagreeable odour. This they do, as they say, for the purpose of keeping themselves clean, and as a defence from the sun or … Continued

Will this ancient succulent herb reveal a medical miracle?

By Ken Macintyre & Barb Dobson, Research anthropologists The Noongar spokesman pointed to the purplish-red fruit of the pigface (Carpobrotus virescens) growing on the dunes at Swanbourne and stated that ‘in summer the ripe fruit of the johnny coolbungs was used just like a salt tablet. It quenched your thirst, gave you energy and was a … Continued

Rediscovering an ancient oil fruit in southwestern Australia

Aim: The aim of our reconstructive anthropological experiments was to gain an understanding of why Noongar people, unlike other Aboriginal groups in Australia, processed and consumed only the sarcotesta (outer fleshy layer) of Macrozamia discarding the carbohydrate-rich seed (endosperm).  It is our assumption that the sarcotesta was processed for a number of reasons, most importantly … Continued

Pre-contact indigenous Fremantle

Consultations were held between Noongar Elders and Fremantle Ports’ representatives in 2009.  Numerous ideas were generated as a result of workshops facilitated by consulting anthropologists Ken Macintyre and Barb Dobson at Fremantle Ports. All the Elders agreed that a map of pre-contact indigenous Fremantle should be created which showed the original topographic and vegetation features … Continued

The parallel universe – the land of the jinns

Throughout human history all cultures have been captivated by a belief in invisible parallel worlds inhabited by small beings. We can call them fairies, elves, gnomes, leprechauns, woodatji or jinns. They all serve the same function – to control behaviour and to give a rational explanation of the “unexplainable.” The Sasak villagers of Western Lombok … Continued

Day time reckoning: “Light time” in traditional Noongar culture

“Light time” could be described as a Noongar way of time reckoning using a system of daily categories based on the intensity of light from dawn to dusk.  ‘Wanting to know the ideas of the blacks of the origin of mankind, I got him [Mokare] this evening after some difficulty to understand my questions, when … Continued

Betanggeq: Arabic influence in Western Lombok folk medicine

In 1996 while researching healing practices in Western Lombok, I had the good fortune to meet one of the last remaining Belian Daraq (blood physicians) who practiced a form of wet cupping (blood letting) using a buffalo horn or tanggeq. This technique was known as betanggeq. Tools of the trade include a buffalo horn (tanggeq) (pictured … Continued

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