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Date(s) - 26/05/2016
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Social Sciences Room 1 (G28), UWA

UWA Archaeology Seminar Series

My thesis will focus on long-term marine assemblages from the Carnarvon Bioregion of north-west Australia and is part of the larger ARC Barrow Island Archaeology Project (BIAP). Dating of archaeological record on Barrow Island positions early shellfish and faunal assemblages as some of the earliest yet recorded for modern humans outside of Africa. The Bioregion provides a unique window into the evolution of maritime societies spanning over 50,000 years incorporating extant and new archaeological data sets from Barrow Island, Montebello Islands, Cape Range and the contemporary Ashburton coastline. Concurrent studies of human mobility, archaeozoology, isotopic studies of fauna, lithic technological organisation, micromorphology and palaeoclimate from BIAP provides an ideal framework within which to consider the role of marine resources within the economy of dynamic desert coastal foragers. Building on this critical mass I will explore the theoretical dichotomy between the “Gates of Hell” vs “Gardens of Eden” aquatic adaptation models (cf. Erlandson 2001). Were the coastlines of the Carnarvon Bioregion always productive and reliable for coastal foragers or, conversely, only productive during periods when the shelf morphology was procumbent or since sea level stabilisation? The unique window offered by multiple near and off-shore sample points allows a range of specific questions to be addressed, including 1) the nature of early marine adaptations by colonisers on northern Australia; 2) the effects of sea level change on maritime desert societies and economies during the last glacial maximum; 3) human responses to post-glacial sea level change and islandisation; and 4) the nature of Holocene marine adaptations with a focus on shell mounds versus shell scatter records along the current north-west coast.

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