A strategy for assessing continuity in terrestrial and maritime landscapes from Murujuga (Dampier Archipelago), North West Shelf, Australia

Veth, Peter, McDonald, Jo, Ward, Ingrid, O'leary, Michael, Beckett, Emma, Benjamin, Jonathan, Ulm, Sean, Hacker, Jörg, Ross, Peter J., and Bailey, Geoff (2019) A strategy for assessing continuity in terrestrial and maritime landscapes from Murujuga (Dampier Archipelago), North West Shelf, Australia. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. (In Press)

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Abstract

Dampier Archipelago of North West Australia is contextualized by a review of the current state of the art of underwater prehistory. In the absence of known sites, we propose terrestrial analogy as a predictive tool for targeting submerged archaeological sites. Geological and topographic contexts are important for assessing preservation potential as is identifying landforms and features around which people may have focused occupation. Analysis of more than 2,500 known archaeological sites from the extraordinarily rich Dampier Archipelago reveals that the vast majority are rock art sites, but these are interspersed by a significant number of artifact scatters, myriad stone structures, shell middens, and quarry and reduction areas. The majority of these sites are focused on coastal and interior valleys, associated uplands, and coastal embayments. While over two thirds of sites occur on granophyre and basalt substrates, the others are located on Quaternary sediments. Regional research on nearby continental islands shows that use of these environments can be expected to pre-date sea-level rise. The most likely submerged sites include: 1) compacted middens associated with rock pools and estuarine features; 2) stone structures with associated middens on limestone pavements or with granophyre and basalt boulder fields; 3) buried midden and other occupation deposits on protected sand sheets; 4) quarry outcrops, extraction pits, and associated reduction debris in areas of fine-grained granophyre and basalt; and 5) middens in consolidated calcarenite shoreline contexts to the north and west of the volcanic suites of the Dampier Archipelago.

Item ID: 58167
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1556-1828
Keywords: marine archaeology; submerged sites; prospection; submerged landscapes; archaeology
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery Project (DP170100812), ARC Linkage Project (LP140100393), ARC Future Fellowship (FT120100656)
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 01:41
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 50%
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