Late Holocene human remains from northwest Queensland, Australia: archaeology and palaeopathology

Domett, K.M., Wallis, L.A., Kynuna, D., Kynuna, A., and Smith, H. (2006) Late Holocene human remains from northwest Queensland, Australia: archaeology and palaeopathology. Archaeology in Oceania, 41 (1). pp. 25-36.

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A human burial of late Holocene age was recently excavated from inland northwest Queensland and studied prior to reburial by the Indigenous community. Bones from the lower thoracic region to the feet were recovered. The person had been interred in a crouched position, resting on their lower legs (shins) and wrapped in paperbark. Similar burial techniques have been described in the region’s ethnographic literature, and this site represents the first known archaeological example.

Ascertaining a firm date for the burial is problematic owing to the nature of the radiocarbon calibration curve in recent centuries. A detailed analysis of the bones indicated the individual to be an adult female, most likely of middle age. There are some significant pathological lesions present that are indicative of treponematosis. The geographic and cultural context of the burial leads us to suggest the most likely diagnosis is treponarid.

Item ID: 1603
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-4453
Keywords: Australian Aborigine, treponematosis, northwest Queensland, skeletal remains, burial practice
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Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2007
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210199 Archaeology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160102 Biological (Physical) Anthropology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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