Dietary stress or cultural practice: Fragmented bones at the Puntutjarpa and Serpent’s Glen rockshelters

22nd November 2013

Pamela A. Smith

Introduction*

The debate concerning the adequacy of the diet of Aboriginal people in the Western Desert of Australia has been contradictory, with some evidence for both an adequate diet and nutritional stress (Gould 1980, 1984, 1996; Veth 1993; O’Connor et al. 1998; Cane 1984; Smith and Smith 1999). The archaeological evidence is, however, limited in its ability to provide information about the full range of the traditional diet in this region, as, according to recent evidence, it was largely vegetarian leaving few bones and only occasional seeds and grinding tools in the archaeological record (Gould 1980, 1986; Veth 1993; Cane 1989; O’Connor et al. 1998). The range of foods obtained was also subject to seasonal variation and the remnants recorded in rock-shelters represent only the very limited wet season diet and were vulnerable to disturbance by predators (Schrire 1972; Walshe 2000).

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

Smith, P.A.
Dietary stress or cultural practice: Fragmented bones at the Puntutjarpa and Serpent's Glen rockshelters
December 20013
51
65–66
Short Report
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