Bone Projectile Points in Prehistoric Australia: Evidence from Archaeologically Recovered Implements, Ethnography, and Rock Art

Harry Allen, Michelle Langley, Paul Tacon

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    While osseous projectile points are frequently recovered and well understood in African and European contexts, those from Pleistocene Australia remain vaguely reported. This chapter outlines the current evidence for prehistoric osseous projectile technology on the Australian continent through the integration of data from archaeologically recovered implements, rock art, and ethnography. Organic implements are recovered only rarely from Pleistocene archaeological contexts in Australia, however, in ethnographic times, a wide range of both bone and wooden projectile technologies were used for hunting and defense. Spears played a significant part in Aboriginal economies, mythological traditions, and in the reproduction of gender roles. This chapter will show that while the evidence for osseous prehistoric projectile technology in Australia is less rich than in other regions of the world, owing to a variety of reasons including taphonomic processes and the ready availability of alternative materials, the Australian data nevertheless contributes to a greater understanding of Pleistocene technological choices as well as cultural variability during this period.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationOsseous Projectile Weaponry: Towards an Understanding of Pleistocene Cultural Variability
    Editors Michelle C. Langley
    Place of PublicationDordrecht, Netherlands
    PublisherSpringer Nature
    ISBN (Print)9789402408997
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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