Bones of contention. Investigating human subsistence in the late-Holocene: An archaeofaunal analysis of two rockshelter assemblages from the Watsonville region, far north Queensland

19th December 2012

Morgan K. Wilcox

This thesis presents an assessment of several lines of enquiry on the basis of an analysis of the faunal material excavated from archaeological sites Toy Creek 1 and Lion Mountain 6 in the Watsonville region, far north Queensland (Qld). Analysis focuses upon the investigation of taphonomic variables in the formation of these two assemblages, with a view to identifying and characterising human approaches to subsistence, and lastly, to discuss the implications of the data in assessing the contentious issue of ‘intensification’.

Detailed archaeofaunal analyses are primarily due to issues of preservation, an under-represented asset in the investigation of far north Qld archaeological sites. The current study is significant in, firstly, presenting the opportunity to assess how faunal evidence can contribute to the investigation of the late Holocene and, secondly, by contributing data from a region of Australia that has not previously been the subject of archaeological enquiry.

The results of the analysis demonstrate that cultural agency has contributed markedly to the accumulation of faunal remains at these two sites. Increased rates of deposition of faunal remains within the last 3000 years, as a reflection of subsistence behaviours, is considered a product of the centralisation of human activity on this point of the landscape as a result of stressed environmental conditions demonstrated by palaeoecological research. As such, the findings presented here appear commensurate with wider regional trends demonstrated archaeologically across far north Qld in favour of late Holocene intensification.

Morgan Kae Wilcox
Bones of contention. Investigating human subsistence in the late-Holocene: An archaeofaunal analysis of two rockshelter assemblages from the Watsonville region, far north Queensland
2012
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Thesis Abstracts
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