AustArch3: A database of 14C and luminescence ages from archaeological sites in southern Australia

06th May 2013

Alan W. Williams and Mike A. Smith

AustArch3 is a MicrosoftR ExcelR database listing radiocarbon and luminescence ages from archaeological sites across southern Australia, including Tasmania. It was originally compiled to support analysis of time-series trends in Williams (2013), and is now available online at http://palaeoworks.anu.edu.au and the AAA website. AustArch3 forms the third and final of a series of datasets being compiled as part of the lead author’s PhD research to document all radiocarbon data across Australia. This dataset fills in the gap between AustArch1 (Williams et al. 2008), AustArch 2 (Williams and Smith 2012) and the Index of Dates from Archaeological Sites in Queensland (Ulm and Reid 2000), and allows complete coverage (within the limits of existing archaeological investigation) for the entire continent. Following the release of this dataset, we will be attempting to consolidate all of the datasets in the near future for inclusion on the Australian Archaeological Association Inc. and Australian Association of Consulting Archaeologists Inc. websites.

The database is intended as a resource for archaeologists working primarily in southeastern Australia, where the data is most comprehensive, but also includes data in South Australia (SA) and southwest Western Australia (WA). It provides a ready checklist of dated sites, as well as a comprehensive listing of radiocarbon and luminescence age determinations, and, in conjunction with calibration programs such as OxCal or Calib, can be used to generate radiocarbon density plots for analysis of trends in occupation. Research in the southeast has been extensive over the last 50 years in both academic and consulting fields, making this central listing of chronometric data particularly useful, and we expect that AustArch3 will become a useful tool for both consultant and academic archaeologists alike. It further allows simple citation of the dataset removing ambiguity of the source data used in time-series analyses.

Format

AustArch3 is a Microsoft Excel file, listing ages (rows) by site, location and biogeographic region. The latter are based on the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA) 6.1 divisions (see Thackway and Cresswell 1995). Longitude and latitude are compiled from published sources, or estimated from locality maps. All 14C ages are given as  conventional (uncalibrated) ages. A brief description of the background and results of each site is presented. The file ncludes a bibliography of published and unpublished sources for 14C and TL/OSL data.

 Geographic Scope

AustArch3 covers the majority of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (Vic.), parts of SA and southwest WA, including the following IBRA regions: – AA, AW, BEL, BHC, COO, CP, ESP, JF, KAN, KIN, MAL, MDD, NAN, NCP, NET, NNC, NSS, RW, SB, SCP, SEC, SEN, SWA, TCH, TNM, TNS, TSE, TSR, TWE, VM, VVP, and WAR (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interim_Biogeographic_Regionalisation_for_Australia>). Note the dataset has some duplication with AustArch 1, with both datasets including the Murray Darling Depression bioregion; such duplication has been identified in the Austarch 3 dataset. The dataset is well represented along in the NSW and Vic. coastlines, along the Murray River corridor, and the Margaret River/Albany region, but does have extensive gaps in the central parts of NSW, the Australian Alps, the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, and large parts of southwest WA.

Coverage

AustArch3 is currently the most comprehensive listing of radiocarbon ages for southern Australia. It includes 1898 ages from some 696 sites, derived from published and unpublished research over the past 55 years. In addition to radiocarbon data, there are 165 TL/OSL ages available.

Updates and Errors

We intend to maintain and periodically update the database and would appreciate hearing of new 14C, TL/OSL or U/Th results as they become available. Users can notify the lead author of any errors via email at <alan.williams@anu.edu.au>.

Acknowledgements

AustArch3 incorporates material from published or private databases by Sean Ulm, Lynley Wallis and Gary Vines. I thank colleagues who have supplied unpublished data.

References

Thackway, R. and I.D. Cresswell (eds) 1995  An Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia: A Framework for Establishing the National System of Reserves. Canberra: Australian Nature Conservation Agency.

Ulm, S. and J. Reid 2000 Index of dates from archaeological sites in Queensland.  Queensland Archaeological Research 12:1–129.

Williams, A.N. 2013 A new population curve for prehistoric Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280(1761): doi 10.1098/rspb.d013.0486.

Williams, A.N. and M.A. Smith 2012 AustArch2: A database of 14C and luminescence ages from archaeological sites in the Top End. Australian Archaeology 74:146.

Williams, A.N., M.A. Smith, C.S.M. Turney and M. Cupper 2008 AustArch1: A database of 14C and luminescence ages from archaeological sites in the Australian arid zone. Australian Archaeology 66:99.

Alan N. Williams and Mike A. Smith
AustArch3: A database of 14C and luminescence ages from archaeological sites in southern Australia
June 2013
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