A reassessment of technological change models for the Australian high country

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Lithic assemblages from five Aboriginal rock shelters in the Namadgi Ranges - including the first with cultural material dating to the early to mid-Holocene - provide new perspectives on our understanding of Holocene lithic technology for this region of the south-east Australian high country. They reveal a steady continuation of quartz predominance and bipolar knapping technique through time. Formal tools are rare, as is other evidence of retouch, but quantitative analyses reveal that raw material variation diversifies and artefact size decreases from the mid-Holocene towards the past millennium, with some associated evidence of a shift in reduction intensity. Re-analysis of the lithic assemblage from the nearby Birrigai rock shelter and information from other dated Namadgi sites provide further context for interpretation. This study finds a lack of evidence for Flood's proposed regional model of late Holocene technological transition from chert-dominated backed artefact to bipolar quartz industry. There is also no evidence for a cultural change associated with a backed artefact proliferation beginning around 4500 to 3500 years BP, as proposed by Hiscock and others for south-east Australia more generally. In fact, the technological shifts observed in the Namadgi high country - morphometric decline, raw material diversity and the appearance of backed artefacts - culminate in the past millennium.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)81-97pp
    JournalArchaeology in Oceania
    Volume52
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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