Gledswood Shelter 1: Initial radiocarbon dates from a Pleistocene aged rockshelter site in northwest Queensland

01st December 2009

Wallis et al SR AA69

Kelly Wiltshire recording sediment samples in the Gledswood Shelter 1 excavation (photgraph courtesy of Lynley Wallis).

Wallis, Lynley A., Ben Keys, Ian Moffat and Stewart Fallon

Like elsewhere in Australia, the archaeology of northwest Queensland has focused on the antiquity of occupation and the continuity of that occupation through the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), in an attempt to better understand the adaptive capabilities and strategies of early humans. Veth (1989, 1993) has hypothesised that the northwest Queensland savannah, as an important ‘corridor’ for the colonisation of Australia (e.g. Bird et al. 2005; Hortson 1981) contain ‘early’ sites; and furthermore that with the climatic deterioration associated with the LGM, such sites should fit one of two patterns: (1) they will be abandoned and display a cultural hiatus; or, (2) if located in resource-rich zones within catchments (‘local refuges’), they will continue to be utilised, though subsistence strategies will be modified to rely more heavily on locally available resources. The  northwest Queensland sites of Colless Creek at Lawn Hill (Hiscock 1984, 1988), and GRE8 near Riversleigh (Slack 2007:218-251; Slack et al. 2004), both fit the second pattern, i.e. persistent occupation through the LGM with altered strategies to cope with increased aridity. However, outside these local refugia, sites pre-dating the LGM have not yet been located in the northwest Queensland savannah.

Wallis, Lynley A., Ben Keys, Ian Moffat and Stewart Fallon
Gledswood Shelter 1: Initial radiocarbon dates from a Pleistocene aged rockshelter site in northwest Queensland
December 2009
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