'Complexity' and the Australian continental narrative: Themes in the archaeology of Holocene Australia

Ulm, Sean (2013) 'Complexity' and the Australian continental narrative: Themes in the archaeology of Holocene Australia. Quaternary International, 285. pp. 182-192.

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Abstract

Accounts of long-term cultural change in Australia have emphasised the late Holocene as the period when 'complexity' emerged amongst foragers in Australia, associated with increased economic productivity, reduced mobility, population growth, intensified social relations and cosmological elaboration. These reconfigurations have often been interpreted as the result of continent-wide trajectories which began in the mid-Holocene, often termed 'intensification'. These approaches have been found wanting as they homogenise diverse records of human adaptation into a single account which inexorably leads to the ethnographic present. The archaeological record tells a rather different story with fluctuating occupational intensity and even regional abandonments featuring in well-documented archaeological records. Instead, variability documented in the ethnographic and archaeological records can be understood as a product of local adaptations reflecting the operation of historically situated systems of social organisation in diverse environmental settings.

Item ID: 23288
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-4553
Keywords: archaeology, Australian Indigenous archaeology, coastal and island archaeology, taphonomy, archaeometry
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2012 01:35
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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