Pleistocene settlement of the eastern Hamersley Plateau: a regional study of 22 rock-shelter sites

Slack, Michael Jon, Law, Wallace Boone, and Gliganic, Luke Andrew (2018) Pleistocene settlement of the eastern Hamersley Plateau: a regional study of 22 rock-shelter sites. Archaeology in Oceania, 53 (3). pp. 191-204.

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Abstract

Between 2013 and 2016, Scarp Archaeology developed and implemented an extensive excavation research program across the eastern Hamersley Plateau, an arid and mountainous physiographic region in the Pilbara biogeographical region of Western Australia. More than 100 rock shelters were excavated during the program, resulting in the documentation of 22 rock‐shelter sites with Pleistocene‐age Aboriginal archaeological deposits. This paper presents the radiometric determinations for these Pleistocene rock‐shelter sites, which collectively suggest that the eastern Plateau was occupied by 45000 years ago. The paper further develops a hypothesis that there was a substantial shift in the incidence and intensity of rock‐shelter occupation during the Last Glacial Maximum, c.30000–20000 years ago, where there was a substantial downturn in the use of most rock‐shelter sites, and in some instances rock shelters were abandoned. However, after the Last Glacial Maximum, we posit that a widespread reoccupation of the region soon occurred. Our research also offers an examination of artefact discard through time, illustrating changes in raw material discard and technology and the likely correlations with procurement and subsistence strategies.

Item ID: 57553
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1834-4453
Keywords: Pilbara; Hamersley Plateau; Pleistocene archaeology; rock‐shelter excavation; Last Glacial Maximum
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 Oceania Publications
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2019 01:59
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
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