Beneath the Top End: a regional assessment of submerged archaeological potential in the Northern Territory, Australia

McCarthy, John, Wiseman, Chelsea, Woo, Katherine, Steinberg, David, O'Leary, Michael, Wesley, Daryl, Brady, Liam M., Ulm, Sean, and Benjamin, Jonathan (2022) Beneath the Top End: a regional assessment of submerged archaeological potential in the Northern Territory, Australia. Australian Archaeology, 88 (1). pp. 65-83.

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Regional-scale assessments have proven to be invaluable frameworks for research, public engagement and management of submerged archaeological landscapes. Regional-scale approaches have been implemented internationally through a variety of academic or strategic studies. Such studies represent a much-needed next step towards subregional and site-level prospection to support management, engagement and mitigation of the impacts of offshore development. However, these regional studies are largely absent in Australia. In this article, we build on the recent discovery of submerged archaeological sites in Western Australia and produce a novel regional-scale assessment of submerged archaeological and cultural landscape potential in the coastal and island regions of the Northern Territory. This area is of special significance in the peopling of Australia, containing some of the oldest dated archaeological evidence. We collate and synthesise regional data related to sea-level change, ethnography (e.g. oral traditions), geomorphology, and archaeology, also taking account of logistics and existing data availability to identify prospective areas for further study. We highlight the need for a coordinated national program of regional baseline studies to address a legacy of under-representation of submerged landscapes and provide vital baseline data for a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including researchers, policy makers, environmental and heritage managers, developers and Traditional Owners.

Item ID: 69255
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0312-2417
Keywords: submerged landscape; archaeology; underwater cultural heritage; coastal geomorphology; archaeological prospection; Indigenous archaeology
Copyright Information: © 2021 Australian Archaeological Association Inc. The Author Accepted Manuscript of this paper is available Open Access from ResearchOnline@JCU after 1 March 2023.
Funders: Northern Territory Heritage Branch
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2021 23:40
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 25%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 50%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430108 Maritime archaeology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 100%
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