Function and Identity in the Archaeological Record: A Functional Analysis of Cossack Fringe Sites

01st December 2007

Kali McHarg

BSc(Hons), School of Social and Cultural Studies, The University of Western Australia, October 2006

The port town of Cossack is located 1480km north of Perth. Established in 1863, Cossack played a vital role in the early development of the pearling and pastoral industries of the northwest. These industries resulted in a wide-range of people living and working in the town. This research investigated four sites on the fringe of the town, to discern the archaeological history, in terms of function and identity.

There is little historical information directly related to these sites and thus an archaeological investigation of the material remains from the fringe camps was necessary. The material from the sites was sorted into 10 categories in an attempt to identify any functional patterns and identity markers in the archaeological material. The absence of any direct cultural markers for Asian habitation makes it unlikely that the camps were made by Asian workers from Cossack, who were predominantly employed as pearlers. The predominance of shellfish remains combined with the presence of flaked stone and glass at all sites suggested that they functioned as Aboriginal camps.

This research represents one of the few archaeological investigations into these sites fringing Cossack. Not only has it shed light on the types of people that inhabited these sites and hence further information about the town itself and the people involved in the various industries associated with Cossack, but it has also given information about how the people inhabiting these sites lived.

Kali McHarg
Function and Identity in the Archaeological Record: A Functional Analysis of Cossack Fringe Sites
December 2007
65
70-71
Thesis Abstracts
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