Chris Clarkson

Chris Clarkson
The University of Queensland | UQ · School of Social Science

PhD

About

127
Publications
87,040
Reads
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4,882
Citations
Citations since 2016
34 Research Items
3249 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500
Additional affiliations
January 2005 - present
The University of Queensland
Position
  • Associate Professor/QEII Fellow
January 2005 - December 2016
The University of Queensland
Position
  • Associate Professor/ARC Future Fellow

Publications

Publications (127)
Article
Standardization can be applied to a lithic assemblage via raw material selection, blank production, blank selection, and/or retouch. Here we explore the baseline level of morphological standardization achievable through blank production alone. By quantifying how little morphological variability is inherently involved in different blank-producing li...
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Full-text available
Grinding stones and ground stone implements are important technological innovations in later human evolution, allowing the exploitation and use of new plant foods, novel tools (e.g., bone points and edge ground axes) and ground pigments. Excavations at the site of Madjedbebe recovered Australia’s (if not one of the world’s) largest and longest reco...
Article
The plant macrofossil assemblage from Madjedbebe, Mirarr Country, northern Australia, provides insight into human-plant relationships for the ∼65,000 years of Aboriginal occupation at the site. Here we show that a diverse diet of fruits, nuts, seeds, palm and underground storage organs was consumed from the earliest occupation, with intensive plant...
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Stone tools are a manifestation of the complex cognitive and dexterous skills of our hominin ancestors. As such, much research has been devoted to understanding the skill requirements of individual lithic technologies. Yet, comparing skill across different technologies, and thus across the vast timespan of the Palaeolithic, is an elusive goal. We s...
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The peopling of Sahul (the combined continent of Australia and New Guinea) represents the earliest continental migration and settlement event of solely anatomically modern humans, but its patterns and ecological drivers remain largely conceptual in the current literature. We present an advanced stochastic-ecological model to test the relative suppo...
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Little is known about the Pleistocene climatic context of northern Australia at the time of early human settlement. Here we generate a palaeoprecipitation proxy using stable carbon isotope analysis of modern and archaeological pandanus nutshell from Madjedbebe, Australia’s oldest known archaeological site. We document fluctuations in precipitation...
Article
The functional study of ground stone artefacts and the analysis of charred plant remains together demonstrate that plant foods played a significant role in the diets of Aboriginal Australians through all occupation phases at the Pleistocene-aged archaeological site of Madjedbebe. Here we report studies of three sandstone grinding stones from the Ho...
Article
Numerous plant seeds (the caryopsis or achene) from a wide variety of genera were traditionally ground for food by hunter-gatherer peoples, including over 200 varieties by Aboriginal Australians. In Australia, these seeds varied greatly in size, shape and hardness. Except for a broad distinction being made between grass and tree seeds, differences...
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India is located at a critical geographic crossroads for understanding the dispersal of Homo sapiens out of Africa and into Asia and Oceania. Here we report evidence for long-term human occupation, spanning the last ~80 thousand years, at the site of Dhaba in the Middle Son River Valley of Central India. An unchanging stone tool industry is found a...
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There is little evidence for the role of plant foods in the dispersal of early modern humans into new habitats globally. Researchers have hypothesised that early movements of human populations through Island Southeast Asia and into Sahul were driven by the lure of high-calorie, low-handling-cost foods, and that the use of plant foods requiring proc...
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Hafted stone tools commonly figure in Australian archaeology but hafting traces and manufacture processes are infrequently studied. The Aboriginal processing of resin from Xanthorrhoea (Sol. Ex Sm.) grass tree, Triodia (R.Br.) spinifex and Lechenaultia divaricata (F.Muell.) mindrie, is reported with experiences and observations about the performanc...
Chapter
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The origins of the South Asian microlithic is hotly debated, with introduction by colonizing Homo sapiens or local adaptive response to climate change, contributing the two main competing models. Here we review the lithic evidence from two regions (the Jurreru Valley and the Middle Son Valley) where well-dated sites spanning 85-6 ka provide detaile...
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Acheulean bifaces dominate the archaeological record for 1.5 million years. The meaning behind the often symmetrical forms of these tools is the topic of considerable debate, with explanations ranging from effectiveness as a cutting tool to sexual display. Some, however, question whether the symmetry seen in many Acheulean bifaces is intentional at...
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The question "How common is convergence?" remains unanswered and may be unanswerable. Our examples indicate that even the minimum detectable levels of convergence are often high, and we conclude that at all levels convergence has been greatly underestimated.-Moore and Willmer (1997: 1) Convergence in stone-tool technology, much like in biology, was...
Article
Colonisation of Sahul 70-60 thousand years ago (kya) represents the first great maritime migration undertaken by anatomically modern humans in one of the final phases of the Out of Africa dispersal. Visual connectivity network analyses, agent-based simulations and ocean current modelling reveal that modern humans could follow numerous northern and...
Article
Identifying extinct fauna in rock art is a common but difficult exercise. Here we use geometric morphometric analysis of shape to examine the oft-cited painting from Arnhem Land attributed by Gunn et al. to the long-extinct species Genyornis newtoni. We compare the shape of key anatomical features in this painting to anatomical depictions of Genyor...
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Stone suitable for flint knapping is fine-grained and isotropic, sharp, and characteristically prone to production failures in the hands of novicesThis poses significant problems for university teachers trying to instruct novices in the fundamentals of stone working in limited time during classroom practicals where health and safety concerns must b...
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The time of arrival of people in Australia is an unresolved question. It is relevant to debates about when modern humans first dispersed out of Africa and when their descendants incorporated genetic material from Neanderthals, Denisovans and possibly other hominins. Humans have also been implicated in the extinction of Australia’s megafauna. Here w...
Article
Understanding post-depositional movement of artefacts is vital to making reliable claims about the formation of archaeological deposits. Human trampling has long been recognised as a contributor to post-depositional artefact displacement. We investigate the degree to which artefact form (shape-and-size) attributes can predict how an artefact is mov...
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The notion that the evolution of core reduction strategies involved increasing efficiency in cutting edge production is prevalent in narratives of hominin technological evolution. Yet a number of studies comparing two different knapping technologies have found no significant differences in edge production. Using digital analysis methods we present...
Data
Raw data accompanying S1 Text. (XLSX)
Data
Flake measurements used within this study. (XLSX)
Data
Pilot study testing the efficacy of using a standardised copper billet as an analogue for a range of natural soft hammers. (DOCX)
Article
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p class="1Abstract"> This paper explores typological transformations among late Paleolithic pebble tools excavated from Pa Muoi site in the Northwestern mountainous region of Vietnam. The site contains approximately 1665 pebble choppers over an excavation area of 449 m<sup>2</sup>. An attribute analysis is undertaken to examine the time-ordering of...
Chapter
TCSA and TCSP are often considered valuable measures of projectile performance, particularly in terms of penetration and overall design. Proponents of this view have also argued that TCSA/TCSP may also be useful for identifying the origins and spread of more complex projectile technologies such as the spear thrower and bow. The strength of these ar...
Article
Stone adzes are found throughout the Pacific islands and documenting their diversity is critical to understanding relationships between past human populations. The adze typology devised by Roger Duff half a century ago is the standard across New Zealand and the rest of Polynesia. Here we describe the different types in the Duff system and analyse 1...
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Stone points were introduced across northern Australia during the mid-Holocene. The reasons behind this novel technological development are unclear but, given their morphology, an obvious interpretation is that they were used as spear tips. However, others have theorised that points, along with backed artefacts elsewhere, may have been multifunctio...
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Universities increasingly demand high quality courses that are engaging, develop high level analytical skills and foster deep understanding of key disciplinary subject matter. We describe an approach to teaching ancient technology to undergraduate students that is successful in engaging students through hands-on learning, and develops familiarity w...
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The Jwalapuram Locality 9 rockshelter in southern India dates back to 35 000 years ago and it is emerging as one of the key sites for documenting human activity and behaviour in South Asia. The excavated assemblage includes a proliferation of lithic artefacts, beads, worked bone and fragments of a human cranium. The industry is microlithic in chara...
Article
Published ages of >50 ka for occupation at Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II) in Australia's north have kept the site prominent in discussions about the colonisation of Sahul. The site also contains one of the largest stone artefact assemblages in Sahul for this early period. However, the stone artefacts and other important archaeological components of th...
Article
We report our attempts to experimentally replicate 25 fine-grained basalt Hawaiian quadrangular adzes using freehand percussion. We document the techniques, stages and distinctive debitage resulting from each stage of the reduction process. While the later experimental adzes in our series reproduced the Hawaiian quadrangular adze with accuracy, we...
Chapter
Full-text available
Stone tool analysis relies on a strong background in analytical and methodological techniques. However, lithic technological analysis has not been well integrated with a theoretically informed approach to understanding how humans procured, made, and used stone tools. Evolutionary theory has great potential to fill this gap. This collection of essay...
Conference Paper
Anthracology is a technique which has been greatly underutilised in Australian archaeology. This is surprising considering the importance of wood in the economy of Indigenous Australian societies. The taxonomic identification of wood charcoal (anthracology) allows researchers to test hypotheses relating to environmental change, landscape modificati...
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We investigate stone drill point production, use, maintenance, and discard from a technological perspective at the Late Neolithic workshop of Bai Ben on Cat Ba Island, Northeastern Vietnam. Bai Ben contains over 18,000 retouched chert flakes classified as drill points and dating to c.3000BP. Large scale production of drills most likely took place f...
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Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has a variable record in identifying human burials, being least effective when distinctive burial features such as grave shafts or void spaces are not present, a common situation in Indigenous Australian archaeological sites. A GPR survey was carried out in advance of recent archaeological excavations at Madjedbebe (f...
Conference Paper
The tropical savanna of Northern Australia is a complex anthropogenic landscape, which has been dramatically altered through climatic and anthropogenic processes over the last 50,000 years. These changes have been driven by climatic, geological and environmental changes, as well as anthropogenic impacts on flora and fauna. Fire regimes have been ob...
Article
We present a new approach to predicting the location of sources of flakeable stone using GIS modelling of raw material proportions obtained from site assemblage data. This approach offers a valuable tool for locating potential source areas and investigating past lithic provisioning and landuse when abundant site assemblage data is available but pre...
Chapter
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Small flakes from stone tools are often detached during use (‘use-flakes’) and edge modification (‘retouch-flakes’). Sometimes traces of use are preserved and indicate use along the external platform edge prior to detachment. Unlike complete tools, which may have been curated and used elsewhere, use-flakes and retouch-flakes potentially provide str...
Article
The Acheulean to Middle Palaeolithic transition is one of the most important technological changes that occurs over the course of human evolution. Here we examine stone artefact assemblages from Patpara and two other excavated sites in the Middle Son Valley, India, which show a mosaic of attributes associated with Acheulean and Middle Palaeolithic...
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THE EVIDENCE FOR NEANDERTHAL LITHIC TECHNOLOGY IS REVIEWED AND SUMMARIZED FOR FOUR CAVES ON THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR: Vanguard, Beefsteak, Ibex and Gorham's. Some of the observed patterns in technology are statistically tested including raw material selection, platform preparation, and the use of formal and expedient technological schemas. The main pa...
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The Arabian Peninsula is a key region for understanding hominin dispersals and the effect of climate change on prehistoric demography, although little information on these topics is presently available owing to the poor preservation of archaeological sites in this desert environment. Here, we describe the discovery of three stratified and buried ar...
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This paper reports further evidence from an archaeological occupation surface in southern India that was buried by tephra from the Toba volcanic super-eruption ca. 74,000 years ago. The open-air site, designated Jwalapuram Locality 22 and located in the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh, preserves more than 1600 stone artefacts assigned to the Ind...
Article
This paper presents the first report on Dhaba, a newly discovered locality in the Middle Son Valley, north-central India. The locality preserves Acheulean, Middle Palaeolithic and microlithic artefacts within a Late Quaternary stratified alluvial sequence. Initial information is provided on the sedimentary sequence, archaeological survey and excava...
Article
Lithic assemblage variability is synthesized and discussed for seven open sites and one rockshelter from the Jurreru Valley in the Kurnool district of southern India. The sites span the last c.77,000 years and provide an invaluable record of cultural change spanning the Toba Super-eruption, 74 thousand years ago (ka), as well as the transition to t...