45,610-52,160 years of site and landscape occupation at Nawarla Gabarnamang, Arnhem Land plateau (northern Australia).

David, Bruno and Delannoy, Jean-Jacques and Mialanes, Jerome and Clarkson, Cristopher and Petchey, Fiona and Geneste, Jean-Michel and Manne, Tiina and Bird, Michael I. and Barker, Bryce and Richards, Thomas and Chalmin, Emilie and Castets, Geraldine (2019) 45,610-52,160 years of site and landscape occupation at Nawarla Gabarnamang, Arnhem Land plateau (northern Australia). Quaternary Science Reviews, 215. pp. 64-85. ISSN 0277-3791

Abstract

We present Bayesian modelling on a long sequence of radiocarbon ages from the archaeological site of Nawarla Gabarnmang, central Arnhem Land plateau, northern Australia. A horizon of wind-borne sediments containing flaked stone artefacts and charcoal commencing >45,610 cal BP (the young end of the modelled boundary age range, which extends beyond the limit of the calibration curve), with a median modelled age of 48,500 cal BP, signals the onset of aeolian mobilisation of fine sands and silts across the landscape, and re-deposition within the site at a time synchronous with the first evidence of people. This earliest cultural horizon (Stratigraphic Unit 4) contains 509 stone artefacts, and is marked by a contemporaneous sedimentary break, from underlying culturally sterile sediments consisting of disintegrating roof-fall and in situ sandstone and quartzite to overlying culturally-rich wind-blown sand. The new radiocarbon ages and wind-blown sediments together provide evidence for the commencement of noticeable landscape burning on the Arnhem Land plateau c. 48,500 cal BP, suggesting an intensification of landscape management practices at the summit of the Arnhem Land plateau some 10,000 e15,000 years after the lowest dense band of artefacts (Phase 2) at Madjedbebe on the floodplains 90 km to the north. These results have ramifications for the structure and timing of the spread of people across Australia, and the extinction of megafauna in Sahul.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 36519
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 March 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 March 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2019 05:41
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 05:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arnhem land; Australian archaeology; Colonisation; Early occupation; Firestick farming; Short vs long chronology; Nawarla Gabarnmang
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
21 History and Archaeology > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Funding Details:
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.04.027
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/36519

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only