The cave entrance sequences and environmental change

Gilbertson, David, McLaren, Sue, Stephens, Mark, Hunt, Chris, Rose, James, Dykes, Alan, Grattan, John, Bird, Michael, Lewis, Helen, Kealhofer, Lisa, Banda, Richard Mani, Bandang, Dana, Daly, Patrick, Rushworth, Garry, Pyatt, Brian, Thompson, Gill B., Piper, Philip J., and Rabett, Ryan J. (2013) The cave entrance sequences and environmental change. In: Barker, Graeme, (ed.) Rainforest Foraging and Farming in Island Southeast Asia: the archaeology of the Niah Caves, Sarawak. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, UK, pp. 71-134.

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Abstract

[Extract] This chapter sets out the primary evidence gathered by the Niah Caves Project concerning the Late Quaternary (i.e. Late Pleistocene and Holocene) sequences in the two main cave entrances that we investigated: the northern chamber of the West Mouth of the Great Cave (Fig. 3.1), and Lobang Hangus. From our initial visits to the West Mouth, studies of the exposures there showed that it has not been the site of continuous or even semi-continuous 'vertical aggradation' of sediments over time, as Tom Harrisson argued: the visual picture is far from uniform, the nature of erosion and deposition has altered significantly through time and space, and there is no simple stratigraphic sequence. As a result, the interpretation of the inherent variability and distribution of the often complex deposits and landforms, including archaeological features, has to depend upon a substantial body of new evidence. This includes: the formal identification and description of exposures; more detailed sedimentological and palynological studies of individual strata recognized in the analysis of 'long' sections through them; and the definition and mapping of the most important components of the sequence, both erosional and depositional, including the contacts between the surviving features. The primary evidence for the new interpretation of the West Mouth cave entrance sequence is summarized in the line drawings and photographs of the exposed faces investigated by the project (their locations shown in detail in Figs. 2.38, 2.39, 3.1 & 3.2; and in Table 3.1). The analysis is based upon new radiocarbon dates of fragments of charcoal excavated from exposures during the NCP project, and which have clear stratigraphic associations. These dates, calibrated using the protocols of Reimer et al. (2009), are listed in the Appendix and reported in this chapter using the terminology in Rose (2007). Further details are set out in Volume 2, Chapter 5 and in the associated supplementary material describing the key exposures in the West Mouth. Further information on the sequence at Lobang Hangus is likewise presented in Volume 2, Chapter 4.

Item ID: 31806
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-902937-54-0
ISSN: 1363-1349
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Date Deposited: 01 May 2014 02:28
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0599 Other Environmental Sciences > 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 100%
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