Although earth mounds are a common archaeological feature of the northern Australian coastal plains, there has been little systematic investigation of them. This paper aims to redress the balance by reviewing and synthesising investigations into earth mounds in northern Australia. I examine several themes raised in the literature that are relevant to research on earth mounds in relation to a number of case studies from northern Australia. These include location, morphology, origins, chronology and the role of mounds in the wider context of settlement systems. I conclude that earth mounds in northern Australia can be divided into two distinct types, coastal/estuarine and freshwater. Both types proliferated in the late Holocene and represent seasonally occupied sites at the junction of a number of resource zones that may also have had social significance as territorial markers.
|Published - 2006