Thesis abstract ‘Bushrangers Cave: An Archaeofaunal Analysis and Palaeoenvironmental Study’

13th November 2013

Amanda J. Kearney

BA(Hons), Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, 1998

In this thesis I present an archaeofaunal study of Bushrangers Cave, southeast Queensland. Concerned primarily with the palaeoenvironment, I argue that shifts in environmental controls and vegetation patterns have occurred in the subcoastal highlands of the Moreton Region, specifically in the local environment of Bushrangers Cave over the last 10,000 years. The sequence of palaeoenvironmental events proposed for the study area is derived from the pan-continental sequence of palaeoenvironmental events coupled with an analysis of terrestrial land snail material. The results of my analysis indicate an early Holocene rainforest phase during which rainforest vegetation reached a maximum extent in upland areas. This was followed by a mid-Holocene rainforest reduction phase which saw an expansion of moderate to open canopy forests linked closely with the introduction of Aboriginal fire regimes throughout the highlands. Climatic conditions of the late Holocene coupled with human induced firing maintained the re-emergence of open sclerophyll forests and the retraction of rainforest vegetation into small refuges in highland contexts as is visible today.

From the evidence it is my inference that there have been two major periods of site use at Bushrangers Cave. These periods correspond with the early and the late Holocene. I posit a general relationship between the patterns of site use and shifts in regional demography. I substantiate this relationship by exploring the implications of my research for models of Moreton Region human settlement. The models to come under consideration include Morwood’s (1987) ‘Social Complexity’ model and Hall’s (1987) ‘Alternative’ model. An assessment of the principle components of each model, in light of the fauna1 evidence, reveals greater support for the ‘Alternative’ model (Hall 1987).

Kearney, A.J.
Thesis abstract 'Bushrangers Cave: An Archaeofaunal Analysis and Palaeoenvironmental Study'
Thesis Abstracts
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