Richard Fullagar

Richard Fullagar
University of Wollongong | UOW · Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

PhD(La Trobe), BA(Melb)

About

194
Publications
88,366
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
6,105
Citations
Introduction
I am appointed Honorary Professorial Research Fellow (2019-2021) in the Centre for Archaeological Science at University of Wollongong. I am an archaeologist with a special interest in stone tools and how they were used by hominins in the past. Current research projects include (1) the study of stone tools from early human sites in Australia, East Asia/South East Asia and the Americas; (2) the role of grinding stones in processing plants for food and fibre-craft; and (3) the dispersal of modern humans.

Publications

Publications (194)
Article
Full-text available
After their emergence by 200,000 years before the present in Africa, modern humans colonized the globe, reaching Australia and New Guinea by 40,000 to 50,000 years ago. Understanding how humans lived and adapted to the range of environments in these areas has been difficult because well-preserved settlements are scarce. Data from the New Guinea Hig...
Article
Grinding stones and fragments have often been found in archaeological sites at Lake Mungo, south-western New South Wales, and their function has mostly been inferred on the basis of grindstone morphology. Of particular interest has been the antiquity of grass seed grinding, which is usually associated with deeply grooved, large sandstone dishes. Pr...
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
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...
Article
Full-text available
We examined 34 experimental stone tools that were used to process four kinds of siliceous plants, including one palm genus (Calamus sp., rattan) and three Poaceae grass genera (Phragmites sp., cattail reeds; Bambusa sp., bamboo; Oryza sp., paddy rice) (Table SI1). Our experimental tools were made from seven different raw materials: chert, obsidian,...
Article
Full-text available
Edge-glossed flakes, usually recognised as stone tools with macroscopically visible polish from use, have been documented in parts of Southeast Asia from contexts spanning the past 12,000 years and possibly more than 30,000 years. It has been proposed that the edges of these flakes were polished by cutting, splitting or otherwise processing siliceo...
Article
Usewear analyses were undertaken on polyvinyl siloxane (PVS) peels from 23 Peiligang (9000–7000 cal BP) ground stone artefacts, including 20 with the denticulated cutting edges typical of implements called ‘denticulate sickles’ and three with cutting edges that lack denticulations, typical of implements called ‘knives’. The denticulate sickles were...
Article
Full-text available
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
In this paper we report on new research at the iconic archaeological site of Cloggs Cave (GunaiKurnai Country), in the southern foothills of SE Australia’s Great Dividing Range. Detailed chronometric dating, combined with high-resolution 3D mapping, geomorphological studies and archaeological excavations, now allow a dense sequence of Late Holocene...
Article
Full-text available
Insects form an important source of food for many people around the world, but little is known of the deep-time history of insect harvesting from the archaeological record. In Australia, early settler writings from the 1830s to mid-1800s reported congregations of Aboriginal groups from multiple clans and language groups taking advantage of the annu...
Article
Cobbles from the Cerutti Mastodon (CM) site have impact marks and usewear suggesting that mastodon bones were placed on stone anvils and struck with stone hammers to produce two concentrations of broken bones and stones. Critics have suggested that the stones may have broken by rolling down slopes rather than in situ at the two concentrations. Our...
Article
Full-text available
Ground stone implements are found across most Australian landscapes and are often regarded as Aboriginal tools that were used for processing or modifying other items such as plant foods, plant fibres, resins, bone points, pigments and ground-stone axes and knives. Less common are ground stones modified for non-utilitarian, symbolic purposes; for ex...
Article
Full-text available
Ground stone implements are found across most Australian landscapes and are often regarded as Aboriginal tools that were used for processing or modifying other items such as plant foods, plant fibres, resins, bone points, pigments and ground-stone axes and knives. Less common are ground stones modified for non-utilitarian, symbolic purposes; for ex...
Article
Aboriginal culturally modified trees are a distinctive feature of the Australian archaeological record, generating insights into Aboriginal interactions with wood and bark, which rarely survive in archaeological contexts. However, they are under-studied, in decline and typically presumed to pre-date the 20th century. Here we investigate the origin...
Article
Full-text available
Aboriginal culturally modified trees are a distinctive feature of the Australian archaeological record, generating insights into Aboriginal interactions with wood and bark, which rarely survive in archaeological contexts. However, they are under-studied, in decline and typically presumed to pre-date the 20th century. Here we investigate the origin...
Chapter
Full-text available
Australian Aboriginal stone tools include cores, flakes, grinding/pounding stones and ground stone implements (e.g. edge-ground hatchet heads). The ethnographic record in Australia provides insights into hunter-gatherer toolkits and suggests broad classes of processed materials, many of which have been identified archaeologically by functional anal...
Article
Full-text available
Ground stone technology for processing starchy plant foods has its origins in the late Pleistocene, with subsequent intensification and transformation of this technology coinciding with the global emergence of agriculture in the early Holocene. On the island of New Guinea, agriculture first emerges in the highland Wahgi Valley, potentially from c....
Article
Full-text available
The emergence of agriculture was one of the most notable behavioral transformations in human history, driving innovations in technologies and settlement globally, referred to as the Neolithic. Wetland agriculture originated in the New Guinea highlands during the mid-Holocene (8000 to 4000 years ago), yet it is unclear if there was associated behavi...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
Organic biomarker and lithic use-wear analyses of archaeological implements manufactured and/or used by hominins in the past offers a means of assessing how prehistoric peoples utilised natural resources. Currently, most studies focus on one of these techniques, rather than using both in sequence. This study aims to assess the potential of combinin...
Article
Full-text available
The quandong or native peach (Santalum acuminatum R.Br.) has been recognised as an important and tasty food resource among Aboriginal Australians in arid and semi-arid areas of southern Australia. It is valued for its fruit that is consumed raw or dried, and for its kernel, which is eaten raw or ground into paste for medicinal and skin care purpose...
Article
Archaeological site interpretation using experimental quantitative and qualitative data: a response to Magnani et al. (2019) - Volume 93 Issue 369 - Kathleen Holen, Richard Fullagar, Steven R. Holen
Article
Full-text available
An unusual, incised sandstone artefact recovered during an archaeological salvage program in Bannockburn, southwestern Victoria, has been uniformly ground and contains sets of regularly spaced, shallow grooves on either side. Microscopic study indicates that the grooves were incised with stone and used to sharpen or shape the edges of wooden implem...
Article
Residues, surface features and wear patterns documented on experimental and ethnographic artefacts form the foundation of residue and usewear reference libraries, from which we can interpret and evaluate the function of archaeological specimens. Here we report controlled experiments to supplement previous studies and document variables that influen...
Article
Raman spectroscopy is a powerful method for detecting micro-residues on stone tools. To further develop techniques for determining stone tool function, we devised a methodology using Raman microscopy to analyse in situ micro-residues before conventional usewear study. We analysed 18 stone artefacts collected in situ from Denisova Cave in Siberia, w...
Article
The “Backed Artefact Symmetry Index” (BASI) provides a measure with which to describe geometric variation in Australian backed artefacts, and Peter Hiscock has suggested that desert versions of this artefact type will be more symmetrical than their coastal counterparts. The re‐excavated Serpent's Glen (Karnatukul) site and nearby site of Wirrili ha...
Poster
Full-text available
Usewear and analyses of preserved residues on prehistoric stone artefacts can potentially provide detailed information about hominid behaviours. Microscopic usewear analysis is an essential technique to determine use of stone tools, but it needs to be complemented by residue analysis for more robust functional interpretations. Conventional usewear...
Article
Full-text available
The Perspective editorial by Braje, T., T. D. Dillehay, J. M. Erlandson, S. M. Fitzpatrick, D. K. Grayson, V. T. Holliday, R. L. Kelly, R. G. Klein, D. J. Meltzer, and T. C. Rick (2017. “Were Hominins in California ∼130,000 Years Ago?” PaleoAmerica 3 (3): 200–202) takes issue with our argument [Holen, S. R., T. A. Deméré, D. C. Fisher, R. Fullagar,...
Article
Full-text available
Haynes [2017 “The Cerutti Mastodon.” PaleoAmerica 3 (3): 196–199] criticizes numerous aspects of our analysis of the Cerutti Mastodon (CM) site, but central among his points is the claim that heavy equipment broke the bones and stones that we interpret as evidence of ancient human activity. This notion can be discounted primarily because most of th...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change and sea level rise are expected to exacerbate existing coastal hazards such as erosion and inundation. As a result many coastal heritage sites around the world are expected to be put at potential risk of damage or destruction. The likely susceptibility of Australia’s Indigenous coastal heritage sites to these hazards is widely recogn...
Article
Full-text available
http://onlinedigeditions.com/publication/?i=440506#{%22issue_id%22:440506,%22page%22:10}
Article
Full-text available
Analyses of ancient micro-residues and usewear preserved on stone artefacts can potentially provide detailed information about how prehistoric humans used the artefacts to process materials such as food, pigments and/or adhesives. However, ancient micro-residues are likely degraded, and there are multiple potential sources of contamination, such as...
Article
Full-text available
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
Full-text available
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150437.].
Article
Full-text available
The earliest dispersal of humans into North America is a contentious subject, and proposed early sites are required to meet the following criteria for acceptance: (1) archaeological evidence is found in a clearly defined and undisturbed geologic context; (2) age is determined by reliable radiometric dating; (3) multiple lines of evidence from inter...
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...