Marginal returns and fringe benefits: Characterising the prehistory of the lowland deserts of Australia (a reply to Smith)

23rd January 2014

Pleistocene sites in Australia (published in Australian Archaeology 40:36).

Pleistocene sites in Australia (published in Australian Archaeology 40:36).

Peter Veth

Introduction*

Given the rapidly increasing discovery of early sites in Australia and the ‘filling in’ of the arid zone (cf. Smith and Sharp 1993), there is a demonstrable need for archaeologists to accurately characterise the behavioural systems responsible for producing ‘first assemblages’ at the regional level. Most commentators would agree that the earliest dated assemblages are unlikely to reflect the first, permanent occupations of a region, let alone reflect the timing of initial colonisation. That a time-lag might exist for the production of archaeologically visible residues may be attributed to numerous factors, including sample size effect, post-depositional disturbance, intensity of site occupation, rate of sedimentation and the uncertainties of radiocarbon determinations.

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

Veth, P.
Marginal returns and fringe benefits: Characterising the prehistory of the lowland deserts of Australia (a reply to Smith)
June 1995
40
32–38
Article
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