A 6700 BP date for island use in the west Kimberley, Western Australia: New evidence from High Cliffy Island

23rd January 2014

Location map of High Cliffy Island off the Kimberley coast (published in Australian Archaeology 39:103).

Location map of High Cliffy Island off the Kimberley coast (published in Australian Archaeology 39:103).

Sue O’Connor

Introduction*

In a recent paper on island use around Australia I drew a series of broad comparisons between northeast and northwest Australia (O’Connor 1992). It was suggested that although dated sites for island use in the northwest were currently of an order of magnitude younger than those in the northeast (see Barker 1989, 1991) future research in northwest Australia was likely to prove that occupation in the two regions was of a similar order of antiquity. It was argued that this was because islands played a similar role in the coastal economy of the occupants of both areas. This paper reports on a 6700 BP date for an open occupation site on High Cliffy Island. Although High Cliffy Island still lacks a continuous sequence, the date of 6700 BP post-dates the insulation of the island from the mainland and therefore goes some way towards substantiating the proposition that island use in the northwest occurred early, as it appears to have in the northeast. Recent results from the Montebello group of islands off the Pilbara coast further corroborate early island use in northwest Australia (Veth 1993).

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

O'Connor, S.
A 6700 BP date for island use in the west Kimberley, Western Australia: New evidence from High Cliffy Island
December 1994
39
102–107
Article
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