Basin Quarries in the Northwest Kimberley Region, Australia

23rd November 2014

Moore, MarkThe northwest Kimberley is a rugged terrain dominated by block-weathered flat-lying sandstone with abundant rockshelters. Much of the sandstone is extremely hard and suitable for the manufacture of stone tools. The stone is technically a form of quartzarenite but is referred to as ‘quartzite’ by prior convention. Aborigines in the Kimberley often procured relatively coarse-grained quartzite by striking flakes directly from the edges of the shelving bedrock, or from blocks broken from bedrock edges (sometimes using fire). Recent fieldwork revealed that Kimberley stoneworkers also extracted fine-grained quartzite from ‘case-hardened’ patches that sometimes occur on the undulating horizontal surfaces of flatlying sandstone. The unusual extraction techniques left behind shallow depressions in the bedrock, referred to as ‘basins’, and an archaeological expression unique to this form of quartzite procurement.

Citation for this poster:

Moore, M. and K. Newman 2014 Basin Quarries in the Northwest Kimberley Region, Australia. Poster Presented at the AAA/ASHA Annual Conference, 1-3 December, Cairns.

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