A multi-scalar approach to marine survey and underwater archaeological site prospection in Murujuga, Western Australia

Wiseman, Chelsea, O'Leary, Michael, Hacker, Jorg, Stankiewicz, Francis, McCarthy, John, Beckett, Emma, Leach, Jerem, Baggaley, Paul, Collins, Charles, Ulm, Sean, McDonald, Jo, and Benjamin, Jonathan (2020) A multi-scalar approach to marine survey and underwater archaeological site prospection in Murujuga, Western Australia. Quaternary International. (In Press)

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Abstract

During the past 20,000 years approximately one-quarter of the continental landmass of Australia was inundated by postglacial sea-level rise, submerging archaeological evidence for use of these landscapes. Underwater archaeological sites can offer substantial insights into past lifeways and adaptations to rapidly changing environments, however the vast scale of inundation presents a range of challenges in discovering such sites. Here we present a suite of methods as a model methodology for locating sites in submerged landscapes. Priority areas for survey were based on palaeoenvironmental contexts determined from the onshore archaeological record. Remote sensing was used to identify seabed composition and indicators of palaeolandscapes where high potential for human occupation and site preservation could be identified in Murujuga (or the Dampier Archipelago), northwestern Australia. Target locations were surveyed by scientific divers to test for the presence of archaeological material. Application of this methodology resulted in the discovery of the first two confirmed sub-tidal ancient Aboriginal archaeological sites on Australia's continental shelf. Survey methods are discussed for their combined value to identify different classes of landscapes and archaeological features to support future underwater site prospection.

Item ID: 64397
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-4553
Keywords: submerged landscape archaeology; marine geophysics; coastal geomorphology; bathymetric LiDAR; underwater cultural heritage
Copyright Information: © 2020 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA. All rights reserved. In accordance with the publisher's policies, the Author Accepted Manuscript of this article is available Open Access under a Creative Commons licence from ResearchOnline@JCU after 9 September 2022.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Flinders University, Hackett Foundation of Adelaide
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery Project DP170100812, ARC Linkage Project LP140100393, ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage CE170100015
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2020 19:00
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 @ 100%
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