The juxtaposition of stone tools, charcoal and bones at Cuddie Springs has been used to support claims that people were butchering now-extinct animals, and grinding seeds about 30,000 BP. Statistical analysis of dates for the site shows significant sediment disturbance, and the anomalous presence of hair residues in the absence of bone collagen suggests that bones and stone tools are not the same age. We argue that the published studies on the Cuddie Springs claypan deposits do not show a stratified and undisturbed Late Pleistocene archaeological site, as proposed by the excavators, instead revealing a palimpsest of Late Holocene and European occupational debris superimposed on a much longer- term record of Quaternary landscape evolution. There is no reliable evidence that extinct Australian megafauna coexisted with people using seed-grinding technology at Cuddie Springs, nullifying the excavators' support for climate change models of extinction and dietary choice.
|Journal||Archaeology in Oceania|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|