An Analysis of Flaked Stone Artefacts from Kutikina Cave, Southwest Tasmania, Australia

01st June 2008

Jennifer Burch

BArch(Hons), Archaeology Program, School of Historical and European Studies, La TrobeUniversity, October 2007

It has long been argued that the late Pleistocene archaeological records of southwest Tasmanian sites are highly patterned and reflect a long-lasting and regionally-restricted behavioural ‘system’. In a recent analysis of flaked stone artefacts at BoneCave, Holdaway (2004) concluded that there was little evidence for technological or typological change over a period of some 20,000 years. Although changes in patterns of raw material use are linked by Holdaway (2004) to shifts in mobility patterns, the results of the Bone Cave analysis encouraged retention of the concept of a distinctive southwest Tasmanian ‘archaeological signature’. However, the impact of scale, resolution, and sampling on the behavioural information that can be generated from these assemblages has received little attention. It is possible that rather than reflecting behaviour, the uniformity seen at BoneCave is simply the result of shallow, conflated deposits, the use of large analytical units representing long time spans, and the analysis of small assemblages excavated from spatially-restricted deposits. To examine these issues, this project investigated late Pleistocene flaked stone artefacts from KutikinaCave (previously FraserCave) and compared these with the stone assemblages from BoneCave.

The thesis presents a systematic analysis of a portion of the KutikinaCave stone assemblage, investigating patterns of change and continuity through time in raw material use, technology and the types of artefacts produced. Results indicate that there were changes over time in the way that raw materials were used, the way cores were reduced and in the types of tools produced. Stone assemblages dating to between c.17,000 BP and c.15,000 BP at KutikinaCave are compared to those excavated from chronologically commensurate deposits at BoneCave to examine regional variability within the southwest system. The thesis concludes that the differences between the KutikinaCave and BoneCave stone assemblages are likely to be a function of the ‘telephone box’ style excavations necessitated by the extreme richness of archaeological deposits in southwest Tasmanian cave sites. The analysis of the KutikinaCave stone assemblage indicates that the archaeological record of southwest Tasmania is highly variable.


Holdaway, S. 2004 Report of the Southern Forests Archaeological Project: Continuity and Change: An Investigation of the Flaked Stone Artefacts from the Pleistocene Deposits at Bone Cave, Southwest Tasmania, Australia. Volume 2. Bundoora: Archaeology Program, School of Historical and European Studies, La TrobeUniversity.


Jennifer Burch
An Analysis of Flaked Stone Artefacts from Kutikina Cave, Southwest Tasmania, Australia
June 2008
Thesis Abstracts
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