Testing the Viability of Low-Magnification Use-Wear Analysis at Two Case Study Sites in the Midwest Region, Western Australia

21st April 2013

Jamie Twaddle

BA(Hons), School of Social Sciences, University of Western Australia, November 2012

Surface lithic artefact scatter sites are abundant features of the Indigenous archaeological landscape of the Midwest region of Western Australia (WA), yet reamin under-utilised as a resource for understanding past Aboriginal subsistence. These sites are typically affected by more extreme post-depositional effects than sub-surface archaeological material, and represent palimpsests that lack fine-grained behavioural resolution. In this context, the application of lithic use-wear and residue analyses to recovered assemblages holds potential for the reconstruction of past activities and site formation processes. Archaeological consultancies in WA frequently recommend these analyses are understaken as a component of recording these Indigenous site types but, as yet, the suitability of these techniques remains unclear. This dissertation directly addresses these issues through a comparative low-magnification use-wear analysis of lithic assemblages recovered from two case study sites in the Midwest region of WA: the open surface lithic artefact scatter site Wyinga-AS-100, and rockshelter Weld-RS-0731. Through a comparison of use-wear and organic residue preservation this dissertation discusses the relative suitability of both site types for the application of functional analysis, and assesses their potential behavioural contribution. The results highlight the influence of post-depositional processes on the preservation of functionally related traces on lithics at open surface site and emphasises the challenges that Ausralian raw materials pose for the application of use-wear analysis, from which are drawn suggestions for future research.

Jamie Twaddle
Testing the viability of low-magnification use-wear analysis at two case study sites in the Midwest region, Western Australia
June 2013
Thesis Abstracts
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