An example of rock art in the Dampier Archipelago (pic: National Trust)

A bitter row has broken out over a bid to have priceless 30,000-year-old rock art granted World Heritage status, with the CEO of a local Aboriginal corporation coming out against the listing, contrary to the wishes of prominent indigenous leaders.

The million rock engravings located on Western Australia's Dampier Archipelago on the Pilbara Coast are believed to contain the earth's oldest representation of a human face and were prominently featured on ABCTV's groundbreaking First Footprints series on Sunday night.