Thesis abstract ‘Chenier and Shell Midden: An Investigation of Cultural and Natural Shell Deposits at Rodds Peninsula, Central Queensland Coast’

02nd January 2014

Melissa Carter

BA(Hons), Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, October 1997

In Australian archaeology distinguishing coastal shell midden deposits from natural shell formations has not been a simple task. Two of the principal contributors to this problem have been the ambiguous criteria of identification and the dynamic nature of Australia’s coastal landscape. I investigate this issue by examining three marine shell deposits from Rodds Peninsula, on central Queensland’s Curtis Coast, excavated under the auspices of the Gooreng Gooreng Cultural Heritage Project. Field observations and preliminary research (Lilley et al. in press) which included the application of foraminiferal analysis, determined that both cultural and natural shell deposits had been excavated. In this thesis, the application of the two most credible criteria for the identification of shell deposits—species diversity and intra-specific size selection—demonstrate the complex nature of these deposits. This complexity is best demonstrated by the excavated assemblage of ‘A7’, which contains interwoven deposits of cultural and natural origins. My findings illustrate the integrity of the two conventional criteria applied, whilst highlighting both the credibility and need for refinement of foraminiferal analysis. Most importantly my research highlights the complexity of coastal environments and the broad implications they manifest for Australian archaeology.

References

Lilley, I., D. Brian and S. Ulm in press The use of foraminifera in the identification and analysis of marine shell middens: A view from Australia. In M-J. Mountain and D. Bowdery (eds), Taphonomy: Analysis of Processes from Phytoliths to Megafauna. Research Papers in Archaeology and Natural History 30. Canberra: ANH Publications, The Australian National University.

Carter, M.
Thesis abstract 'Chenier and Shell Midden: An Investigation of Cultural and Natural Shell Deposits at Rodds Peninsula, Central Queensland Coast'
june 1999
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Thesis Abstracts
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