CYLCON (YURDA): A MAGICO-RELIGIOUS TALLY 1

MS 5085
MS Short Title CYLCON (YURDA): A MAGICO-RELIGIOUS TALLY
Text CYLCON (YURDA), A MAGICO-RELIGIOUS TALLY WITH MARKS POSSIBLY RECORDING THE NUMBER OF YOUNG MEN TO PASS THE INITIATION RITUALS TO MANHOOD OF THE "BORA", FURTHER POSSIBLY REPRESENTING THE POINTING OF THE "DEATH-POINTER-BONE", MAGIC CAPABLE OF CAUSING DEATH TO ANYONE DIVULGING THE TRIBE'S SECRET RITUALS
Description MS on weathered desert sandstone, Bulloo Downs, South West Queensland, Australia, ca. 20000-3000 BC, 1 cylindrical cylcon, 26x7x6 cm, deeply incised with 5 parallel longitudinal lines intersected by 4+2 semi-circular lateral lines, 2 arrows pointing towards apex, 1 arrow pointing towards base.
Provenance 1. Found in Bulloo Downs, South West Queensland, Australia (ca. 1947); 2. Shearing Contractor Peter Manoel, New South Wales, Australia (1947-1973); 3. H. Gallasch Museum, Australia (1973-); 4. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.
Commentary

Cylcons are earlier than churingas. There is no certain ways to date individual cylcons. The oldest cylcon/message stone found in a dateable archaeological context is about 20,000 years old. The simple line motifs of the oldest cylcons represent the earliest art of the Aborigines, from a very early period of occupation. In Australian nomenclature this is the colonizing period, or early Stone Age, ca. 50,000/40,000-3,000 BC.

With the earliest rock-carvings and -paintings, the cylcons represent the oldest form of communication and art; and they represent the oldest religion still observed. Only 2 Aborigines have been able to communicate their name of the cylcons: Yurda, and Wommagnaragnara (Heart of the snake), respectively. Other uses as tallies are possible, such as counting of dead people, warriors, emus, measures of nardo seeds, or mapping purposes counting day-marches in various directions. Later the use could also change to other magic rituals, some involving the chipping off smaller flakes, and the practical use for pounding and crushing. Much more research is needed before the cylcons' real age and significance can be properly understood and appreciated. The term cylcon is derived from the title of R. Ethridge's publication: The Cylindro-conical and Stone Implements of Western New South Wales and their significance. Ethnological Series No. 2, Memoirs of the Geological Survey of New South Wales, 1916:1-41.

Place of origin Australia
Dates 20 000 - 3000 BC

Location