Stone Constructions on Rankin Island, Kimberley, Western Australia

Susan O'Connor, Len Zell, Anthony Barham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Here we report on a variety of stone constructions that have been recently recorded and mapped on Rankin Island in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. The function of one of these features, a long stone wall, is discussed in the context of similar built stone features in other areas of northern Australia and Torres Strait. The possibility that the wall functioned as a fish trap is examined but dismissed on the basis of the survey levelling data which indicate that even with a higher relative sea stand of +1-2m the wall would only have been breached by king tides on a few days of the year. It is probable that the wall had associative 'ritual' or 'magic' functions, although it is acknowledged that the distinction between 'ritual' and 'subsistence' is a moot one where increase ceremonies and hunting magic are regarded as essential for success in procuring resources.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-22
    JournalAustralian Archaeology
    Volume64
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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