Indigenous built structures and anthropogenic impacts on the stratigraphy of Northern Australian rockshelters: insights from Malarrak 1, north western Arnhem Land

Wesley, Daryl, Litster, Mirani, Moffat, Ian, and O'Connor, Sue (2018) Indigenous built structures and anthropogenic impacts on the stratigraphy of Northern Australian rockshelters: insights from Malarrak 1, north western Arnhem Land. Australian Archaeology, 84 (1). pp. 3-18.

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Abstract

Malarrak 1 is currently the northernmost excavated rockshelter on the Australian mainland, located in the Wellington Range in north western Arnhem Land. The site contains a rich late Holocene deposit, with extensive contact rock art, stone artefacts, shell, bone, contact materi- als, ancestral human remains, and other cultural material. Excavation of the Malarrak 1 rock- shelter and analysis of its sediments revealed many impacts on site formation processes within the deposit. We attribute the disturbance to possible erosion or sediment deposition during periods of intense rainfall and also to the construction of timber structures within the site. This is supported by modern and historical observations and is the focus of this paper. The extent of the disturbance to Malarrak 1 provides a cautionary tale for other excavations in the region that may be affected by similar Indigenous site occupation, as these anthropo- genic activities enhance the risk of further impacts arising from biological and geomorpho- logical processes that can impinge on the stratigraphic integrity of the cultural deposits.

Item ID: 71066
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0312-2417
Keywords: rockshelter; sediments; archaeology; northern Australia; Wellington Range; built structures; taphonomy
Copyright Information: © 2018 Australian Archaeological Association
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC LP0882985, ARC DE170101447, ARC DP160100703
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 23:59
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 100%
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