DataPDF Available

Lake Tyrrell Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Field School, Ed. Thomas Richards and Harry Webber 2004

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

A joint heritage investigation project of North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria. A report on activities of the Aboriginal Community Heritage Investigations Program, Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, Melbourne.
Content may be subject to copyright.
1
Lake Tyrrell Aboriginal
Cultural Heritage Field
School
A Joint Heritage Investigation Project of North West Region
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria
i
Lake Tyrrell Aboriginal Cultural
Heritage Field School
Edited By
Thomas Richards1 and Harry Webber1
Contributions From
Thomas Richards
Harry Webber
Christina Pavlides1
Rochelle Johnston1
Claire Nicholls2
Keryn Walshe3
Mark Dugay-Grist1
A Report on Activities of the Aboriginal Community
Heritage Investigations Program
Aboriginal Affairs Victoria
2004
1 AAV
2 La Trobe University
3 Flinders University
ii
iii
Contents
Figures........................................................................................................................................ v
Tables.......................................................................................................................................... vi
Acknowledgements................................................................................................................ vii
Chapter 1 Introduction............................................................................................................. 1
Chapter 2 Setting..................................................................................................................... 5
Introduction.......................................................................................................... 5
Environment......................................................................................................... 5
European Settlement........................................................................................... 9
Ethnohistory and Ethnography........................................................................... 10
Previous Archaeological Research...................................................................... 12
Chapter 3 Cultural Heritage Training..................................................................................15
Introduction........................................................................................................ 15
Training Goals................................................................................................... 15
Classroom Training............................................................................................ 15
Field Excursion...................................................................................................... 16
Field School........................................................................................................... 17
Discussion and Conclusions................................................................................ 22
Chapter 4 Lake Tyrrell Survey..............................................................................................23
Introduction........................................................................................................ 23
Previous Archaeology............................................................................................ 23
Lake Tyrrell Survey................................................................................................ 29
Discussion............................................................................................................. 33
Conclusions........................................................................................................... 34
Chapter 5 Lake Tyrrell Stone Artefact Recording and Analysis..................................35
Introduction............................................................................................................ 35
Methodology........................................................................................................... 35
Specific Site Information..................................................................................... 39
Results............................................................................................................... 42
Post Depositional Disturbance...........................................................................47
Summary.............................................................................................................. 50
Discussion............................................................................................................ 51
Conclusions........................................................................................................... 51
Review of Field Recording Methods................................................................... 52
Chapter 6 Investigations at Box Gully................................................................................55
Introduction............................................................................................................ 55
Geomorphology...................................................................................................... 55
Mapping.................................................................................................................. 57
Surface Collection................................................................................................. 58
iv
Sampling Strategy and Excavation Methods....................................................... 58
Stratigraphy............................................................................................................ 60
Analysis.................................................................................................................. 68
Box Gully Discussion............................................................................................ 75
Regional Comparisons......................................................................................... 76
Conclusions........................................................................................................... 79
Notes...................................................................................................................... 80
Chapter 7 Feedback From Participants.............................................................................81
Introduction............................................................................................................ 81
Excerpts From Interviews..................................................................................... 81
Chapter 8 Conclusions..........................................................................................................83
References................................................................................................................................. 91
Glossary...........................................................................................................................................................95
Appendix 1 Lake Tyrrell Survey Site Gazetteer............................................................... 99
Appendix 2 Lake Tyrrell Stone Artefact Recording Form...........................................101
Appendix 3 Lake Tyrrell Stone Artefact Data..................................................................103
Appendix 4 Box Gully Pleistocene Stone Artefact Data..............................................117
Appendix 5 Box Gully Faunal Remains, Excavation....................................................119
Appendix 6 Box Gully Faunal Remains, Surface..........................................................121
v
Figures
1 Lake Tyrrell study area......................................................................................................... 2
2 Victorian mallee with locations of places mentioned in the text........................................... 6
3 Taking the boat over to Bumbang Island.............................................................................. 16
4 Ken Stewart and Cedric Clayton inspect fallen tree............................................................. 16
5 Erosion control and revegetation works at Merrbein Common shell midden...................... 17
6 Team surveying transect, Tyrrell Downs................................................................................ 17
7 Claire Nicholls, Ken Stewart and Cedric Clayton recording stone artefacts........................ 18
8 Participants listening to introductory talk on excavation methods........................................ 19
9 Erin Fenton, Sonny Kirby and Christina Pavlides employ a variety of tools.......................... 19
10 Henry Day and Bonnie Wise using hand picks to remove baulk.......................................... 20
11 Team wet sieving and sorting finds at Box Gully................................................................... 21
12 Howard Galway and Bianca Weir setting up total station..................................................... 21
13 Field School participants at Box Gully.................................................................................... 22
14 Registered Aborginal sites within a 25 km radius of Lake Tyrrell.......................................... 24
15 Aboriginal site density in the vicinity of Lake Tyrrell.............................................................. 25
16 Aboriginal site type frequency in the vicinity of Lake Tyrrell.................................................. 27
17 Previous archaeological survey areas in the vicinity of Lake Tyrrell.................................... 28
18 Cross-section of topography at Tyrrell Downs Survey Areas 1 and 2.................................. 29
19 Survey Area 1, Tyrrell Downs................................................................................................. 30
20 Typical visibility and exposure within ploughed paddocks at Survey Area 1........................ 30
21 Survey Areas 1-3, southeastern Lake Tyrrell......................................................................... 31
22 Sites recorded during the 2001 Lake Tyrrell survey.............................................................. 32
23 Evonne Hunter at hearth feature site AAV 7427/166............................................................. 33
24 Close-up of remains of hearth feature AAV 7427/166........................................................... 34
25 Locations of stone artefacts recorded around Lake Tyrrell.................................................. 36
26 Allan Hunter and Claire Nicholls recording stone artefacts.................................................. 37
27 Surface stone artefact distribution at Box Gully.................................................................... 38
28 Surface stone artefact distribution at Lake Tyrrell 1............................................................. 39
29 Surface stone artefact distribution at Lake Tyrrell 18........................................................... 40
30 Surface stone artefact distribution at Lake Tyrrell 27 and 28................................................ 41
31 Surface stone artefact distribution at Lake Tyrrell 29 and 30................................................ 42
32 Lake Tyrrell surface stone artefacts....................................................................................... 46
33 Box Gully, northern Lake Tyrrell.............................................................................................. 56
34 Location of artefacts collected from surface contexts around Square 2.............................. 58
35 Red flags mark the locations of animal bone, emu egg shell fragments.............................. 59
36 Square 1 stratigraphy.............................................................................................................. 59
37 Feature A along the east wall of Square 1............................................................................ 61
38 Feature C in the west wall of Square 1................................................................................. 61
39 Section and plan views of Features A and B, Square 1........................................................ 62
40 Square 2 stratigraphy.............................................................................................................. 62
41 Rochelle Johnston and Yul Harradine excavating Square 2................................................. 63
42 Mottled Layer 2 sediment in plan view, Square 2.................................................................. 64
43 Charcoal concentration, Spit 7, Layer 2, Square 2............................................................... 64
44 Box Gully Squares 1 and 2 composite stratigraphic sequence........................................... 65
45 Flaked stone artefacts from Box Gully................................................................................... 69
46 Shingle back lizard scute........................................................................................................ 71
47 Fresh water mussel shell fragments..................................................................................... 72
48 Emu egg shell fragment.......................................................................................................... 73
49 Burnt-calcined small mammal long bone fragment.............................................................. 73
50 Carnivore damage on small mammal long bone fragment.................................................. 74
51 South East Australian Pleistocene sites discussed in the text............................................. 77
vi
Tables
1 Survey coverage information................................................................................................... 33
2 Artefact raw materials, all assemblages................................................................................ 42
3 Cortex on stone artefacts, all assemblages.......................................................................... 43
4 Stone artefact technological classes, all assemblages........................................................ 43
5 Raw material/technological class, Soaks assemblage......................................................... 44
6 Raw material/technological class, Survey assemblage........................................................ 44
7 Tool types, Survey assemblage.............................................................................................. 45
8 Raw material/technological class, AAV site 7427/134........................................................... 45
9 Core type/raw material, Soaks assemblage.......................................................................... 47
10 Core type/raw material, Survey sites..................................................................................... 47
11 Core dimensions, all assemblages........................................................................................ 48
12 Complete flake dimensions, all assemblages....................................................................... 49
13 Broken flake dimensions, all assemblages............................................................................ 50
14 Fractured stone dimensions, all assemblages...................................................................... 51
15 Radiocarbon and Optically Stimulated Luminescence dates................................................ 57
16 Square 1 stratigraphic layer descriptions............................................................................... 60
17 Square 2 stratigraphic layer descriptions .............................................................................. 63
18 The relationship between stratigraphic layers and geomorphological units....................... 66
19 The number and weight of artefacts recovered from Square 1............................................ 67
20 The number and weight of artefacts recovered from Square 2........................................... 67
21 Box Gully raw materials.......................................................................................................... 68
22 Fracture types present............................................................................................................ 70
23 Mean maximum length of all flaked stone artefacts.............................................................. 71
24 Summary of identified faunal remains.................................................................................... 72
25 Radiocarbon dates for Squares 1 and 2, Box Gully.............................................................. 75
26 Willandra Lakes environmental changes and cultural associations..................................... 76
27 Lake Tyrrell lunette formation and cultural associations....................................................... 78
28 Calibrated ages for selected south east Australian radiocarbon dates................................ 79
vii
Acknowledgements
First and foremost the authors of this report respectfully acknowledge traditional owners with an
interest in Lake Tyrrell, including: Latje Latje, Wemba Wemba, Wergaia, Wadi Wadi, Wotjobaluk
Traditional Land Council and North West Nations Clans Aboriginal Corporation.
We also acknowledge the North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (NWRACH) program,
our partners in undertaking the Lake Tyrrell Field School, who made an enormous contribution to
the success of the project: Gary Murray (Chair), Rodney Carter (former Regional Coordinator),
Karinda Ritchie (former Regional Coordinator), Yul Harradine (former Heritage Protection Officer)
and Howard Galway (former Heritage Protection Officer).
We thank Rodney Carter (Chair) and Marlon Parsons (Administrator) of the Swan Hill and District
Aboriginal Co-operative for consent to disturb the Box Gully site.
There would not have been a Field School without the participants, and we have rarely encountered
such a dedicated, hard working group as: Ian Baxter, Cedric Clayton, Henry Day, Erin Fenton, Allan
Hunter, Evonne Hunter, Mary Hunter, Angie Kirby, Christopher Kirby, Steve Kirby, Ken Stewart and
Bonnie Wise. Most of the participants were employed through a Community Jobs Program project
jointly sponsored by the North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage program and Natural
Resources and Environment. Karinda Ritchie (former Regional Coordinator, NWRACH) and Peter
Kelley (NRE) managed the CJP program.
The land owners of Box Gully, Christopher and Joelle Powell, had an enormous enthusiasm for our
research and went out of their way to help us, most notably by providing a fire engine and an
unlimited supply of precious fresh water for the wet sieving.
The following Aboriginal Affairs Victoria staff contributed their hard work and expertise during the
Field School: Richard MacNeill (Coordinator, Heritage Information), Gabrielle Brennan (Senior
Heritage Project Officer) and Bianca Weir (former Heritage Information Officer-GIS Development).
Richard MacNeill also produced Figures 14-17, 22, 33 and 34 for this report.
Tim Stone (University of Melbourne) graciously allowed us to quote his OSL dates on Box Gully
sediments which he produced during his thesis research.
Dr Philip Macumber (consultant) provided valuable information on the palaeohydrology and
geomorphology of the Box Gully sediments.
Vanessa Edmonds (Heritage Consulting Services) volunteered her archaeological and team leading
skills for the project and we all benefitted from her assistance.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial contribution of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Commission to this project.
Several people reviewed the draft report and provided very helpful comments, particularly Rodney
Carter (Chair, North West Nations Clans Aboriginal Corporation), Mike Green (former Heritage
Team Leader East, AAV), Caroline Jackson (Senior Communications Advisor, DVC), Richard
MacNeill, Russell Smith (Heritage Officer, AAV), Ken Stewart (Regional Director, NWRACH) and
Phillippa Sutherland (formerly TerraCulture Heritage Consultants).
In addition, we thank the following people and organisations for their interest and contributions to
the success of this project:
land owners and lessees at Tyrrell Downs, especially Mr Greg Allan;
viii
Andrew Marshall, Chief Ranger, Mallee (Parks Victoria);
Mr David Hanns and Mr Peter Ottrey, operators of the Green Lake accomodation;
residents of Sea Lake.
1
Chapter 1. Introduction
Thomas Richards
The ‘Lake Tyrrell Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Field School’ was the first project in the Aboriginal
Community Heritage Investigations Program (ACHIP). ACHIP was initiated by Aboriginal Affairs
Victoria (AAV) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission to provide cultural heritage
management and archaeological training and experience to Aboriginal people in Victoria, while
making a contribution to knowledge about the Aboriginal past. Each project is a joint venture
between AAV and one or more Aboriginal organisations, including Regional Cultural Heritage
Programs, traditional owner groups and local Aboriginal communities. Every aspect of each project
is developed jointly, including the area to be investigated, the nature of the investigations, and the
training focus.
The Field School took place at Lake Tyrrell, a large salt lake located 50 km west of Swan Hill in
north west Victoria in early December 2001 (Figure 1). The Lake Tyrrell project was developed and
undertaken in a partnership between the North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage program
(NWRACH) and AAV.
One of the goals of the project was to provide training and experience in understanding the Aboriginal
cultural heritage of the area, specifically to develop participant’s skills in the recognition, recording
and investigation of artefacts and sites. Another of the project goals was to contribute to the
understanding of Aboriginal use of the landscape around Lake Tyrrell. This was to be achieved
through a combination of site survey and recording, detailed stone artefact recording and excavation.
Lake Tyrrell was chosen as the study area for several reasons, the primary one being that over 20
years ago traces of Aboriginal occupational evidence such as emu egg shell, charcoal and a chert
flake were discovered in an eroded area at the northern end of the lake. The geological context
placed these possible traces of Aboriginal occupation at a time when the lake was full and less
salty than today, estimated to be around 25,000 years BP (Macumber 1991). This tantalising bit of
information was by no means conclusive of Aboriginal occupation at that early time and place, but
it provided the project with the major investigative goal of determining if such evidence for early
occupation of the Victorian mallee was present at Lake Tyrrell.
Another reason for choosing Lake Tyrrell as the venue for the Field School is that there have been
a number of archaeological site surveys there over the past thirty years, providing a record of sites
along the lakeshore and inlet creek. However, the overall pattern of Aboriginal site distribution
across the landscape in the vicinity of Lake Tyrrell remains unclear, and our work with transects
running perpendicular from the lakeshore was designed to provide supplementary information on
site density and distribution at increasing distances from the lake, so that a comprehensive model
of Aboriginal landscape use could be developed.
The first phase of the project covered two days in November 2001. The first day involved AAV staff
delivering several illustrated talks on subjects such as cultural heritage management, archaeology,
several case studies of problem oriented research in the region, site types in the area and an
outline of the proposed field school. In addition, an informal workshop was held to familiarise the
participants with a variety of materials that could be encountered in the field, including stone
artefacts, bone artefacts, human bones and animal bones. The second day involved a bus trip to
several sites in the region to have a first hand look at scarred trees, burial sites, artefact scatters
and freshwater shell middens. There were discussions about the age of the sites, the sort of
activities that went on at them and protection works that had been undertaken at several of them.
The second phase involved the Field School in late November and early December 2001. The
bulk of participants consisted of 13 members of a Community Jobs Program (CJP) group jointly
2
Figure 1. Lake Tyrrell study area.
ROBINVALE SEA LAKE RD
CALDER HWY
PATCHEWOLLOCK SEA LAKE RD
ROBINVALE SEA LAKE RD
N
2024Kilometers
Ro ad2 5
Main road - sealed
Main road - unsealed
Vehicular track
Access road
Causeway
Road25
#
#
##
#
#Box Gully excavationBox Gul ly ex cavat io n
Survey locationsSurvey locat ions
Stone artef act recording loc ation s
Stone ar tefact rec ordin g loc ation s
#
#"The Soaks "
"The Soak s"
VICTORIA
#
Loc a ti on
LAKE
TYRRELL
LAKE
TYRRELL
3
sponsored by the NWRACH and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. There
were also two members of the Latje Latje (traditional owners), two volunteer archeologists and
three staff members of the NWRACH. Eight AAV staff spent at least one day at Lake Tyrrell.
Investigative activities were integrated with training/learning experiences while undertaking three
major activities:
site survey
detailed artefact recording
excavation.
In addition, participants were interviewed about their experiences on the Field School to provide
feedback for future project development.
Participants were given the opportunity of trying a little bit of everything and for example, would
spend two days excavating, two days site surveying, and a half day doing detailed artefact recording.
NWRACH staff were also able to work on specific skills that they wanted to develop or upgrade
and one member spent a significant amount of time learning how to use surveying equipment
while helping to prepare a topographic map of Box Gully.
The third phase of the project, analysis and report writing, is now complete.
The fourth phase will involve dissemination of the results of the project, starting with a return to
Swan Hill and presentation of the analysis results to participants and other interested people. It is
intended to follow this up with media releases, seminars, conference papers and a variety of
publications to promote interest in and educate the public on the highly significant Aboriginal
cultural heritage of north western Victoria.
The present report is an account of the training and investigations undertaken during the Field
School and it will form the basis of all other information outputs regarding this project. It is therefore
comprehensive and detailed, but generally written in plain English, with some necessary technical
terms that are defined in the Glossary. This report incorporates portions of an Honours thesis
recently completed by Claire Nicholls on the surface stone artefacts from around Lake Tyrrell
(Nicholls 2002). Chapter 2 provides environmental and cultural background information relevant
to the study area. Chapter 3 details the training associated with the project. Chapters 4 and 5
present the results of the systematic site survey and detailed recording of surface stone artefacts
from around Lake Tyrrell. Chapter 6 documents the results of the investigations at Box Gully and
contains discussions of the stratigraphy, chronology, features, animal remains, stone artefacts
and charcoal found there. Chapter 7 contains extracts of interviews undertaken with the project
participants and Chapter 8 briefly summarises the results of the project.
4
55
Chapter 6. Investigations at Box Gully
Thomas Richards, Christina Pavlides, Keryn Walshe, Harry Webber and
Rochelle Johnston
Introduction
The Box Gully site (AAV 7427/101) was chosen for investigation because of its high archaeological
training and research potential (Figure 1). Previous geomorphological investigations suggested
the presence of Aboriginal occupation deposits in sediments 23,400 radiocarbon years old
(Macumber 1991), an impression supported by archaeological field inspections of the site in 1977
and 1991 (Witter n.d., Luebbers and Ellender 1981). However, this possible site had never been
investigated by archaeological excavation and had not been accepted in the literature as a confirmed
location where late Pleistocene Aboriginal occupation occurred (Ross 1981:151). Indeed, the current
archaeological model of Aboriginal settlement history in the Victorian mallee away from the Murray
River suggests that the area was not occupied prior to ca. 4500 BP (Ross 1981). The only exception
recognised in this model is the Raak Plains sites dating between ca. 12,000-7,000 BP (Ross
1981).
The major research question the Box Gully investigation was designed to answer was whether
Aboriginal people occupied the Victorian mallee prior to the last glacial maximum (LGM), dating to
ca. 21,000 ± 3000 years BP (Barrows et al. 2002:159). Specific to the site, the goal was to
evaluate whether Aboriginal occupation evidence could be retrieved from undisturbed subsurface
sedimentary contexts predating the LGM, and if so, to characterise the nature of the evidence, its
chronology and to discuss its significance in the regional archaeological context.
Investigations consisted of the excavation of two 1m squares in the lunette deposits, collection of
artefacts eroding from the A horizon of the Lower Lunette and detailed contour mapping of Box
Gully. Recording undertaken on surface stone artefacts exposed in the sheet eroded A horizon of
the Upper Lunette is discussed in Chapter 5 of this report.
Geomorphology
The presence of possible early Aboriginal occupation deposits was detected during a detailed
geomorphological study of Box Gully, thus the late Pleistocene geomorphology of this location is
well known (Macumber 1991). Essentially, Box Gully currently consists of a series of water erosion
channels cut through the north western tip of the Lake Tyrrell lunette and into underlying ancient
beach deposits (Figure 33). Macumber (1991:54-58) defined two clay lunette formations: (1) the
Lower or ‘Red’ Lunette, dating from ca. 40,000 to ca. 22,000 radiocarbon years BP; (2) the Upper
or ‘Grey’ Lunette overlying the Lower Lunette. The Lower Lunette formed over a period of ca. 12,000
years, and was capped with a well developed palaeosol, indicating a ca. 6000 year period of dune
stability associated with higher water levels in Lake Tyrrell (Macumber 1991:58). Following this
high lake level phase, a lower lake level phase coincided with Upper Lunette formation, estimated
to date from ca. 22,000 to 15,000 radiocarbon years BP (Bowler and Teller 1986; Luly et al. 1986;
Macumber 1991:58).
Macumber (1991:55-58) divided both the Upper and Lower Lunettes into A, B and C horizons. The
palaeosol capping the Lower Lunette, the ‘A horizon’, displayed extensive evidence for burning,
including numerous charcoal lenses and patches of discoloured sediments. In one of these burnt
areas in the north of Box Gully he observed ‘…small chert artifacts, pieces of emu shell and burnt
clay…’ (Macumber 1991:56). A radiocarbon age determination on associated charcoal provided a
date of ca. 23,400 radiocarbon years BP (Macumber 1991:56).
56
$Z
$Z
#
SQUARE 2
#
SQUARE 1
1
2BOX GULLY EXCAVATION
30 0 30 Meter s
N
Surv ey datu m 1.
E 668 619.0, N 610013 9, Elev. 63.7
Surv ey datu m 2.
E 668 464.38 , N 61001 11.07, Elev. 59 .227
Surve y datum
$Z
Erosi on c hannel
Contour in terval 0.25 me tres.
Figure 33. Box Gully, northern Lake Tyrrell.
57
Macumber obtained two additional radiocarbon age determinations on charcoal from the A horizon
of the Lower Lunette, one from the southern end of Box Gully and the other from southeastern Lake
Tyrrell (Table 15). Calibration (Gillespie 1998) of the three determinations yields calendar ages for
the A horizon of ca. 27,500, ca. 29,000 and ca. 33,600 CAL BP (Table 15), suggesting that the top
of the Lower Lunette formed a stable land surface for a considerable period.
Three unpublished optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) determinations on Box Gully sediments
are also available (Stone pers. comm. 2002). Sediment from near the base of the Upper Lunette
yielded a date of ca. 27,300 CAL BP (Table 15). A date of ca. 76,000 CAL BP was obtained from
near the base of the Lower Lunette, and the beach sands dated to ca. 130,000 CAL BP.
Stone’s OSL age determination of ca. 27,300 CAL BP for the basal Upper Lunette agrees with
Macumber’s model of lunette formation and conforms well to the radiocarbon determination of ca.
27,500 CAL BP from the top of the Lower Lunette (Table 15). However, Stone’s ca. 76,000 CAL BP
OSL determination for the onset of Lower Lunette formation is markedly older than the previous
date of ca. 37,500 CAL BP for this event (Table 15), suggesting a much longer span of lunette
formation than modelled by Macumber (1991:54).
The recently obtained OSL determination for the basal Upper Lunette and calibration of Macumber’s
radiocarbon dates from the palaeosol capping the Lower Lunette indicate that this stable land
surface, possibly containing Aboriginal occupation deposits, formed prior to ca. 27,000 CAL BP.
Macumber attended the site prior to the 2001 investigations and provided advice on the
geomorphology of Box Gully. Unfortunately, his attempt to relocate the cultural material he reported
in his 1991 study was unsuccessful, although the general area of the finds was identified. At the
conclusion of our investigations, he also advised on our identification of stratigraphic units and soil
horizons in relation to his geomorphological scheme.
Mapping
No detailed maps of Box Gully existed prior to our investigations and a high priority was placed on
the obtaining of data for a map and three sections through the upper Gully. Topography, surface
artefacts and features, excavation squares and geomorphological units were recorded using a
Sokia total station electronic distance measurement instrument. Figures 33 and 34 were generated
with these data at AAV using the SDRmap program1.
Location Geomorp hological
Unit and Horizon1
Conventional
Age BP
±
1 SD
Lab
ID
CAL2OSL3Dating
Method
Reference
Box Gully N Lower Lunette, A 23,400 340 SUA-1439 29,020 - Conventional 14 C Macumber 1991
Box Gully S Lower Lunette, A 22,000 730 SUA-588 27,494 - Conventional 14 C Macumber 1991
L Tyrrell SE Lower Lunette, A 27,780 730 SUA-783 33,621 - Conventional 14 C Macumber 1991
Box Gully Lower Lunette, C 31,700 1,140 SUA-559 37, 517 - Conventional 14C Macumbe r 1991
Box Gully S Upper Lunette, C - 1,520 - - 27,310 OSL3Stone 2002
Box Gully Lower Lunette, C - - - - 76,000 OSL3Stone 2002
Table 15. Radiocarbon and Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) age determinations for geomorphological
units and horizons in the Lake Tyrrell lunette. Calibration of Macumber’s radiocarbon dates has been undertaken
to allow comparisons with other dating methods employed at Lake Tyrrell and elsewhere and to facilitate
comparisons with regional and global environmental changes.
1. Geomorphological model of Macumber 1991.
2. Calibration curve of Gillespie 1998.
3. Optically stimulated luminescence. OSL dates are in calendar years and do not require calibration.
58
A permanent site datum, consisting of a metre long star picket hammered into the Upper Lunette,
was placed to the south east of Box Gully at the survey datum 1 location (AMG E668619, N6100139;
AHD Elevation 63.7 m) (Figure 33).
Surface Collection
Animal bone fragments and teeth, emu egg shell fragments, flaked stone artefacts, red ochre and
fractured stone were collected from the surface around Square 2 (Figures 34, 35). None of these
items were in situ as they were located on the eroding surface and remnant edges of the Lower
Lunette deposits adjacent to Square 2. No items were found at an elevation higher than that of the
Upper Lunette/Lower Lunette interface. Given this vertical distribution and a corresponding absence
of cultural material in Upper Lunette deposits in Squares 1 and 2, the surface material is attributed
to the Lower Lunette. It is recognised that the surface material is less certainly derived from the
Pleistocene deposits than that recovered by the excavations and it is consequently always identified
as surface finds in the discussions and tables.
Sampling Strategy and Excavation Methods
The location of the Box Gully excavations was selected in order to maximise stratigraphic information.
On the basis of several reconnaissance visits to Box Gully in September-November 2001, it became
apparent that the north east end of the main gully had the greatest potential to address the major
research question (Figure 33). This area had the highest potential for in situ Aboriginal occupation
deposits to be present because burnt animal bone, emu egg shell, stone artefacts, charcoal and a
possible hearth feature had been observed eroding from gully walls at the level of the Lower Lunette.
Square 1 was placed back from an exposed section in the main gully adjacent to a possible
Aboriginal hearth feature in the A horizon of the Lower Lunette at ~110 cm below the current land
#
#
##
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
###
##
##
#
#
##
#
##
##
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
###
#
####
#
#
##
#
#
#
#
#
###
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
N
1012345Meters
BOX GULLY EXCAVATION
Conto ur inter val 0.25 me tres.
Erosi on chan nel
#Surf ace colle cted ar tefac t
loca tions
DETAIL
#
SQUARE 2
Figure 34. Location of artefacts collected from surface contexts around Square 2.
59
surface (Figure 33). Much of the
stratigraphic sequence described by
Macumber (1991) is visible in section
at this location, making it a primary
choice for excavation.
Square 2 is located 19 m to the north
east of Square 1 near the extreme
north eastern edge of Box Gully
(Figures 33,34). The square was
excavated into an east-west oriented
promontory of sediment isolated by
gullying activity to the north, south and
west (Figure 34). This location was
targetted for excavation because
extensive lenses and patches of
charcoal stained sediments and
numerous pieces of fragmented bone, emu egg shell were associated with Lower Lunette deposits
exposed by erosion. At the western end of the promontory, the top of the Lower Lunette is the
present land surface as all of the overlying Upper Lunette sediments have eroded away. Square 2
was placed east of this highly eroded area, in a location where some Upper Lunette deposits still
remained in place, forming a protective mantle over the Lower Lunette deposits.
Excavation proceeded stratigraphically within the two 1 m squares. Layers were distinguished on
the basis of changes in sediment colour, texture and consolidation. Arbitrary excavation units
(spits) were removed within natural layers; these were generally 10 cm thick in Square 1 and 5 cm
thick in Square 2. Occasionally, spits were of different thicknesses due to the nature of stratigraphic
boundaries. Sediments within cultural features were removed as discrete contextual units within
layers. All cultural material was sorted and stored according to arbitrary excavation units within
stratigraphic layers.
A variety of tools were employed for excavation. Trowels and pointing trowels were primarily used
on the cultural deposits, while small hand picks and square-nosed spades were mostly used for
excavating sterile sediments. Each bucket of excavated sediment was weighed and then wet
Figure 36. Square 1 stratigraphy (see layer descriptions in Table 16).
South Face West Face
East Face
Layer 1 Layer 2
Layer 3
Layer 5
Layer 4
Layer 6
Layer 7
Unexcavated
0 cm 100 cm
0
cm
50
100 Feature C
Feature A
Figure 35. Red flags mark the locations of animal bone, emu egg
shell fragments and stone artefacts eroding from Lower Lunette
deposits. Looking south west down Box Gully. Note excavation
at Square 1 in the background. Arrow points to location of Square
2 prior to excavation.
60
Layer Spit Sediment Consolidation Munsell Colour pH
Number Number Texture
1 1 very fine clay very consolidated 5 YR 5/6 yellowish red 8.5
2 2 fine clay ver
y
consolidated 7.5 YR 5/6 strong brown 9.5-10
3 3 fine clay consolidated 5 YR 3/ 4 dark reddish brown 8.5
3 4 fine clay consolidated 10 YR 3/6 dark yellowish brown 9
4 5 fine clay consolidated 10 YR 5/6 strong brown 9
4 6 fine clay consolidated 7.5 YR 5/6 strong brown 9
4 7 fine clay consolidated 7.5 YR 5/6 strong brown 9
5 8 fine clay consolidated 7.5 YR 7/6 reddish yellow 9
5 9 fine clay consolidated 7.5 YR 6/6 reddish yellow 9
5 10 fine clay consolidated 7.5 YR 6/6 reddish yellow 9
6 11 Sandy clay loam consolidated 7.5YR 6/6 reddish yellow 9
6 12 Sand
cla
loam consolidated 7.5YR 6/6 reddish yellow 9
Feature A 11-13 clay loam consolidated 10 YR 4/3 brown, 10 YR 2/3 brownish black 8.5
Feature B 12-13 clay loam consolidated 10 YR 4/3 brown, 10 YR 2/3 brownish black 9
6 13 clay loam consolidated 7.5 YR 6/4 light brown 8.5-9
Locus 1 13 clay loam consolidated 7.5YR 5/3 brown 9
Locus 2 13 clay loam consolidated 7.5 YR 3/3 dark brown 9
6 14 fine clay loam consolidated 7.5 YR 5/4-/6/4 brown to light brown 8.5-9
Feature C 14-15 clay loam consolidated 7.5 YR 5/4 brown 9
6/7 15 clay loam semi-consolidated 7.5 YR 6/4 light brown 8.5
7 16 medium clay semi-consolidated 7.5 YR 6/4 light brown 8
7 17 medium clay semi-consolidated 7.5 YR 6/4 light brown 8
sieved using 3 mm mesh sieves. All cultural materials, including artefacts and faunal remains, and
all sieve residues were retained for later analyses. Charcoal samples were collected and placed in
clean plastic bags either during excavation or after being retrieved from sieve residues.
In the laboratory all artefacts were rebagged separately and numbered prior to specialist analyses.
Stratigraphy
Each new stratigraphic layer is characterised in terms of its texture, consolidation and colour
(Munsell 1993). While the two squares varied in total depth, both excavations were continued until
sterile deposits were encountered. The acidity of each layer was tested with the aid of a soil pH kit.
Alkaline conditions are evident for both squares with pH values ranging between 8.5 and 10 (Tables
7-8). The stratigraphy for each square is presented below, with a general stratigraphic discussion
following.
Square 1
Square 1 revealed seven stratigraphically distinct layers and three pit features (Figure 36, Table
16). This one metre square reached a depth of approximately 1.53 m below surface with ~2000 kg
of sediment excavated in a volume of 1.5 m3.
Layer 1 is very fine-grained clay, yellowish red in colour, which extends from the surface to an
average maximum depth of 9 cm. This sediment is very consolidated and tightly packed. Many
small rootlets were observed. No artefacts were recovered from within Layer 1.
Layer 2 is a strong brown, very consolidated, fine-grained clay with very few inclusions. It ranges
from 8-10 cm in average maximum thickness. It is slightly darker in colour than the overlying
Table 16. Square 1 stratigraphic layer descriptions and pH values.
61
Layer 1 and has a grey discolouration at its base. This discolouration forms a sharp interface
between Layers 2 and 3. Apart from a European shot gun pellet, Layer 2 is devoid of cultural
materials. A small amount of charcoal was recovered from this layer.
Layer 3 sediments range in colour from dark reddish brown to dark yellowish brown. The sediments
consist of consolidated, fine-grained clay with a blocky structure. No artefacts were recovered,
although a small amount of charcoal was found. This layer is generally between 25 and 30 cm in
thickness.
Layer 4 is a strong brown, consolidated, fine grained clay with many carbonate concretions occurring
in the form of long narrow tubes and nodules which increase in frequency with depth. These
nodules are a pale yellow colour. While the sediment is consolidated, it is more homogeneous and
less likely to crumble into small blocky pieces than Layer 3. Layer 4 is up to 34 cm thick. It is devoid
of artefacts and charcoal.
Layer 5 is a reddish yellow sediment generally ranging in thickness from 25 to 35 cm. The sediment
can be described as consolidated, fine-grained clay with a primarly blocky structure. A filled in
crack running east-west across the square was noted during the excavation of the lower portion of
this layer. This crack may represent an ancient water erosion feature or drying out of sediments.
Its depth is considerable and it continues into Layer 6. No artefacts or charcoal were recovered
from within Layer 5.
Layer 6 is generally comprised of consolidated, fine-
grained clay, reddish yellow to light brown in colour, with
numerous charcoal fragments and burnt sediments.
There is a considerable amount of mottling in this layer,
some of which can be identified as insect burrows or
root casts. The east-west running crack which first
appeared in Layer 5 continues through this layer and
into Layer 7. This crack is filled with sediment
distinguished by its slightly redder colour and slightly
looser consolidation than surrounding sediments. Layer
6 is between 30 and 40 cm in thickness.
Artefacts and faunal remains appear for the first time in
Layer 6. Three features (Features A, B, C) and two
discrete burnt patches (Loci 1 and 2) are also present
throughout this layer. Feature A, situated along the
eastern wall, is only partially exposed within the square
(Figures 36, 37). This feature has its origins in the upper
part of Layer 6. Measuring 88 cm in diametre and 30 cm
in maximum thickness, the feature is circular in plan with
an irregular base (Figure 39). The pit fill is a dark,
brownish-black to brown clay with a high charcoal content,
possibly indicating its function as a hearth or fire pit. A
filled-in crack, first visible in the top of Layer 6, runs from
the south western corner of the square to the centre of
Feature A. This crack does not continue below the feature.
Feature B is slightly deeper in Layer 6 than Feature A.
Located within the north western quadrant of the square,
the feature is roughly circular in plan with a maximum
diametre of 38 cm and a thickness of 24 cm (Figure 39).
Globular in section, it has an irregular base. The fill is
Figure 37. Feature A along the east wall of
Square 1. Fill has been removed from hearth,
but charcoal is visible in the wall. Scale is in
10 cm increments.
Figure 38. Feature C in the west wall of Square
1. Scale is in 1 cm increments.
62
similar to that noted for Feature A. A deep crack
extends across the square from the eastern wall
to Feature B, and continues through it.
Feature C originates mid-way down Layer 6 and
ends at the base of the layer (Figures 36, 38).
Only partially removed because of its position
in the north western corner of the square, it is
an extensive patch of burnt sediment with few
scattered charcoal fragments, measuring 38
cm long by 25 cm wide and 16 cm thick.
Sediment within the feature is a brown colour.
The area of burning has a central cylindrical
component that winds westward and downward.
Initially identified as a possible root cast or insect
burrow, this smaller portion of the feature is filled
with scorched clay rather than charcoal
fragments. The larger feature beyond the central
core is visible in the west wall of Square 1 and
is represented in its lower portion solely by
scorched sediment rather than charcoal
fragments (Figures 36, 38).
In terms of form, structure and contents, all three features appear as concentrations of charcoal
within well-bounded patches of heat altered sediments. This association of charcoal with larger
patches of scorched earth indicates an in situ formation of the feature during a burning event or
events, rather than just the accumulation of charcoal fragments due to either fluvial or aeolian
movement. The presence of post-depositional sediment cracks in Features A and B, possibly
resulting from water erosion or drying events, cannot therefore be used as an explanation for their
formation.
Charcoal from the top of Layer 6 (Spit 11) has been dated to 22,015 ± 125 radiocarbon years BP
(AHU-166). Locus 1 (Spit 13), near the bottom of the cultural deposit, provided charcoal yielding
a determination of 23,507 ± 174 radiocarbon years BP (AHU-167).
Layer 7 is a light brown, semi-consolidated, medium clay deposit devoid of all cultural material and
charcoal fragments. The filled in crack first observed in Layer 5, and running through Layer 6, also
extends approximately 10 cm into Layer 7 before terminating. A maximum of 20 cm of Layer 7 was
Figure 40. Square 2 stratigraphy (see layer descriptions in Table 17).
West Face
South Face
North Face
1a
1b
1
2
3
4
Unexcavated
East Face
1
2
3
4
1a
1b
0 cm 100 cm
0
cm
50
100
1a
1b
1
2
3
44
3
2
1
Layer
Layer
Layer
Layer
Figure 39. Section and plan views of Features A and B,
Square 1.
010 20cm
East Face
West Face
Feature A Section
Feature B Section
0 cm
40
0 cm
40
Feature B Plan
63
excavated, although the final excavation unit was only excavated in the north west quadrant of the
square. The excavation did not reach the bottom of this layer.
Square 2
Four stratigraphic layers were defined for Square 2, which was excavated to a maximum depth of
1.02 m below surface (Figures 40, 41, Table 17). A total of ~1478 kg of sediment was removed
from the one metre square in an excavated volume of 1 m3.
Layer 1 is a light brown coloured,
consolidated clay with a blocky,
structure, present on the western
surface of the square. A substantial
amount of this layer has been
removed in the past by the cut and
fill episode(s) represented by Layers
1a and 1b. The Layer 1 deposits
that are present clearly represent in
situ Upper Lunette sediments, unlike
the reworked and redeposited
Layers 1a and 1b. No charcoal or
cultural material is present in Layer
1, with the exception of two tiny bone
fragments found at the interface of
Layers 1 and 2.
Layer 1a is a semi-consolidated silty
clay representing the A horizon
across most of the square’s
surface, extending to a maximum
Layer Spit Sediment Consolidation Munsell Colour pH
Number Number Texture
1a 1 silty clay semi-consolidated 10 YR 7/4 very pale brown 9
1b 2 silty clay semi-consolidated 7.5YR 5/6 strong brown 9
1b 3a silty clay semi-consolidated 7.5YR 5/6 strong brown 9
1 3b clay consolidated 7.5YR 6/4 light brown 9
1 4 clay consolidated 7.5YR 6/4 light brown -
1 5 clay consolidated 7.5YR 6/4 light brown -
1 6 clay consolidated 7.5YR 6/4 light brown -
2 7 clay loam semi-consolidated 7.5YR 5/6 strong brown 8.5
2 8 clay loam semi-consolidated 7.5YR 5/6 strong brown 9
2 9 clay loam semi-consolidated 7.5YR 5/6 strong brown 9.5
2 10 clay loam semi-consolidated 7.5YR 5/6 strong brown 10
2 11 clay loam semi-consolidat ed 7.5YR 5/4 brown 10
2 12 sandy clay loam semi-consolidated 7.5YR 5/4 brown 9.5
3 13 fine clay semi-to-consolidated 7.5YR 5/3 brown 10
3 14 fine clay semi-to-consolidated 7.5YR 4/6 strong brown 10
3 15 fine clay semi-to-consolidated 7.5YR 5/4 brown -
3 16 fine-me dium clay consolidated 10 YR 6/4 light yellowish brown 9
4 17 fine-me dium clay semi -consolidated 7.5YR 5/6 strong brown 9.5
4 18 coarse clay sem i-consolidated 7.5YR 4/6 strong brown 9.5
Table 17. Square 2 stratigraphic layer descriptions and pH values.
Figure 41. Rochelle Johnston and Yul Harradine excavating Square
2. Note red flags marking Pleistocene surface finds around Square
2 and excavation of Square 1 in the background.
64
depth of about 7 cm. It is absent within 20-30 cm of the
western edge of the square due to ongoing erosion.
Layer 1a is a very pale brown. It has a moderately high
humic content, but contains no charcoal or cultural
material. Layer 1a probably originated as reworked gully
sediments from a relatively recent cut and fill episode.
Layer 1b is a strong brown, semi-consolidated, silty clay
gully fill generally underlying Layer 1a, except near the
western edge of the square, where erosion has
exposed a narrow strip of Layer 1b on the surface.
Layer 1b represents reworked sediments that have filled
in a water erosion channel cut into Layer 1. These
sediments in and around the square are currently being
eroded from the top by surface runoff and laterally by
channel erosion. No charcoal or cultural material was
found in Layer 1b.
Layer 2 is a semi-consolidated, clay loam with a brown to strong brown colour. The presence of
root casts and numerous carbonate nodules give the sediments a mottled appearance (Figure
42). There is a sharp boundary between Layer 2 and the overlying Layer 1 that is well defined by
changes in consolidation and colour. Layer 2 is interpreted as an undisturbed palaeosol horizon
representing the ancient stable surface of the Lower Lunette.
Animal bone fragments, emu egg shell, flaked stone artefacts and charcoal fragments were
recovered from throughout Layer 2, which had a maximum thickness of ~35 cm.
A semi-circular area in the north west corner of Square 2 has patchy charcoal staining and soil
discolouration, probably from episodes of burning. There is no structure or sharp boundary to this
area, designated Locus 1. The evidence of burning extends to a thickness of ~10 cm and appears
to reach the north and west walls of the square, but it is not evident in the section. While lacking
the elements of a feature, Locus 1 may have a cultural origin nonetheless.
Three age determinations were obtained on charcoal from the top, middle and base of Layer 2:
24,061 ± 144 radiocarbon years BP (AHU-168) (Spit 7) (Figure 43), 24,372 ± 150 radiocarbon
years BP (AHU-169) (Spit 9) and 27,656 ± 202
radiocarbon years BP (AHU-170) (Spit 12).
The boundary between Layers 2 and 3 is marked by
relatively minor changes in colour and consolidation.
Layer 3 is a semi-consolidated to consolidated fine
clay, with a brown to yellowish brown colour and a
maximum thickness of ~20 cm. Tubular carbonate
nodules up to 1 cm long are common in this layer,
lending a somewhat mottled appearance to the
sediments in plan view. Layer 3 underlies Layer 2
across the square and represents in situ sediments
immediately below the Lower Lunette-capping
palaeosol horizon. A small amount of charcoal was
recovered from all spits excavated in Layer 3. One
flaked stone artefact and a lizard scute were found in
the uppermost spit excavated in this layer and these
artefacts therefore pre-date the 27,656 radiocarbon
years BP date for the base of the overlying Layer 2.
Figure 42. Mottled Layer 2 sediment in plan
view, Square 2. Measuring tape is in inches
(top) and centimetres (bottom).
Figure 43. Charcoal concentration, Spit 7, Layer
2, Square 2. This charcoal was later dated to
24,061±144 radiocarbon years BP (ca. 29,700
CAL BP). Measuring tape is in inches (top) and
centimetres (bottom).
65
Layer 4 is a semi-consolidated, medium to coarse grained clay loam that is strong brown in
colour. Small carbonate nodules (~5 mm long) and tiny quartz pebbles (~2-4 mm long) are
present, but not abundant. The boundary between this layer and the overlying Layer 3 is relatively
well defined by a change in sediment texture. Layer 4 is an in situ Lower Lunette deposit of
unknown thickness, although 20 cm was excavated without evidence of stratigraphic change.
Layer 4 is the last stratigraphic unit encountered in Square 2, but probably not the basal unit of the
Lower Lunette. Traces of charcoal were present within the excavated portion of Layer 4, as was a
single flaked stone artefact, recovered from the upper 10 cm of this layer.
An age estimate of 40,384±766 radiocarbon years BP (AHU-171) was determined on charcoal
associated with the flaked stone artefact.
Stratigraphic Discussion and Chronology
The two squares excavated at Box Gully are located at different positions on the Lake Tyrrell
lunette and have been subjected to slightly different post-depositional formation processes. In
particular, much of the overlying Upper Lunette has been removed by erosion from the area around
Square 2, while the Upper Lunette is intact near Square 1. Nevertheless, the Lower Lunette is
largely intact in both squares.
The information gathered from the individual stratigraphic sequences observed at Squares 1 and
2 facilitates the compilation of a composite stratigraphic sequence for the excavated area comprising
five Strata (Figure 44). This composite stratigraphy facilitates discussions of the site and its contents
and simplifies comparisons with the geomorphological descriptions presented by Macumber (1991)
(Table 18). The Strata are briefly described below, along with calibrated radiocarbon age
determinations (Table 25) and their relationship to the Macumber sequence.
Figure 44. Box Gully Squares 1 and 2 composite stratigraphic sequence.
Unexcavated
1a
1b
Layer 1
Square 1 West Section
Layer 1
Layer 2
Layer 3
Layer 5
Layer 4
Layer 6
Layer 7
Unexcavated
100 cm
0
cm
Layer 2
Layer 3
Layer 4
Box Gully Strata Square 2 North Section
Stratum 1
Stratum 2
Stratum 3
Stratum 4
Stratum 5
0 cm
50 cm
100 c
m
150 cm
66
Stratum 1
Stratum 1 is equivalent to Macumber’s (1991:58) A horizon of the Upper Lunette. As with Stratum
2, it is only present in Square 1. European material culture and a small amount of charcoal are
present in this stratum.
Stratum 2
Stratum 2 is the B horizon of the Upper Lunette as defined by Macumber (1991:58). Only observable
in Square 1, this stratum is represented by Layers 3 and 4. A small amount of charcoal was
present in Stratum 2.
Stratum 3
Stratum 3 is the basal Upper Lunette sediment, designated the C horizon by Macumber (1991:58).
This blocky consolidated fine grey clay is represented by Layer 5 in Square 1 and by Layer 1 in
Square 2. Stratum 3 is essentially sterile, containing only a tiny amount of charcoal from the
bottom of the stratum in Square 1 and two very small bone fragments from the interface of Stratum
3 with Stratum 4 in Square 2.
Stratum 4
Stratum 4 is the palaeosol capping the Lower Lunette, designated as the Lower Lunette A horizon
by Macumber (1991:55). Layer 5 in Square 1 and Layer 2 in Square 2 comprise Stratum 4. This
stratum contained the bulk of the cultural material (flaked stone, animal bone, emu eggshell,
mollusc shell, charcoal) and all of the features observed in the excavated squares. Five dates
range from 33,494±202 CAL BP (AHU-170) near the bottom of Stratum 4, to 27,511±125 CAL BP
(AHU-166) near the top.
Stratum 5
The largely sterile sediments of Stratum 5 underlie the palaeosol of the Lower Lunette and
correspond to Macumber’s Lower Lunette B horizon (1991:55). Stratum 5 is comprised of Layer 7
sediments in Square 1 and Layers 3 and 4 in Square 2. The upper portion of this Stratum dates to
45,399±766 CAL BP (AHU-171).
Summary
Strata 1-3 are sterile compact clays that clearly belong to Macumber’s Upper Lunette formation,
while Strata 4-5 correspond with his Lower Lunette formation (Macumber 1991). Of primary interest
here is the Lower Lunette, where Macumber observed cultural material in section, and where
cultural material was retrieved during the 2001 excavations.
Stratum Square 1
Layer
Square 2
Layer
Geomorphological
Unit and Horizon1
1 1, 2 - Upper Lunette A
2 3,4 - Upper Lunette B
3 5 1 Upper Lunette C
4 6 2 Lower Lunette A
5 7 3, 4 Lower Lunette B
Table 18. The relationship between stratigraphic layers and geomorphological units.
1. After Macumber 1991.
67
Table 19. The number and weight of artefacts recovered from Square 1 at Box Gully.
Table 20. The number and weight of artefacts recovered from Square 2 at Box Gully.
Stratum Layer Spit Bone Stone Shell Charcoal Other Age Determination
Number Number NISP Wt g Number Wt g Wt g Wt
g
(
Dr
y)
(radiocarbon years BP)
1 1 1
2 2 0.18 Gu n pell et
2 3 3
3 4 0.2
4 5
4 6
4 7
3 5 8
5 9
5 10 0.02
4 6 11 32 0.55 1 2.05 0.49 4.49 22,015 + 125
6 12 7 0.38 2.52 6.11
Feature A 12 3 0.31 34.28
Feature B 12 33.58
6 13 18 1.28 7.56
Locus 1 13 78.56 23,507 + 174
Locus 2 13 15.23
6 14 10 0.8 1.14
Feature C 14-15
6/7 15 0.23
5 7 16
7 17
Stratum Layer Spit Bone Stone Emu Shell Charcoal Other Age Determination
Number Number NISP Wt g Number Wt g Wt g Dr
y
Wt
g
(radiocarbon years BP)
3 1a 1
1b 2
1b 3a
1 3b
1 4
1 5
1 6 2 0.03
4 2 7 31 1.88 3 2.93 0.66 24,061 + 144
2 8 38 3.06 1 0.19 0.05 2.93
2 9 47 1.91 0.36 1.23 24,375 + 150
2 10 16 1.51 0.12 1.5
2 11 8 0.43 0.77
2 1 1 + 12 9 0.91 0.18
2 12 12 3.21 0.28 1.46 27, 656 + 202
5 3 13 1 0.8 0.07 0.01
3 14 0.19
3 15 1.01
3 16 0.16
4 17 1 0.03 0.04 40,384 + 766
4 18 0.12
68
Cultural material is unambiguously associated with the Stratum 4 palaeosol in the excavated Squares
1 and 2 (Figure 44). Cultural material recovered from Square 2 is mostly associated with Stratum
4, however, a small amount was also found at the Stratum 3 / 4 interface and the uppermost portion
of Stratum 5. The single flaked stone artefact found deep within Stratum 5 in Square 2 may be
indicative of ephemeral Aboriginal occupation during Lower Lunette deposition. No evidence of
disturbance was noted within Strata 4 or 5 in Square 2.
Analysis
Flaked stone artefacts, complete and fragmented bones from terrestrial fauna, emu eggshell
fragments, fresh water mollusc fragments, charcoal and European artefacts were recovered from
the excavated sediments at Box Gully (Tables 19, 20). A similar range of materials excepting
European artefacts were found on the surface near Square 2. All excavated materials, including
residues, were re-sorted in the lab at AAV after air drying on trays. Materials were sorted into
material classes (e.g., stone, bone, etc.) and non-cultural residue, which were then weighed, counted
and re-bagged separately.
Flaked stone artefacts and faunal remains from the pre-LGM contexts at Box Gully have been
subject to detailed analyses, the former at AAV and the latter at Flinders University. In addition,
charcoal has been radiocarbon dated. The results of these studies are presented below.
Technological Analysis of Flaked Stone Artefacts
All stone artefacts recovered from excavated (n=7) and surface (n=7) contexts at Box Gully were
subject to a detailed technological analysis (Appendix 4, Figure 45). This involved the collection of
both formal and metrical variables and the examination of each artefact under a stereomicroscope
at magnifications of up to x 40 for evidence of micro-damage on artefact edges. All pieces were
weighed in grams to two decimal places using an electronic scale and measured using electronic
calipers to the nearest tenth of a millimetre.
Each artefact was lightly cleaned and bagged separately before analysis.
Procurement Strategies
The seven excavated Pleistocene artefacts are flaked on red, grey and white silcrete, white (milky)
quartz and a glassy grey chert. One silcrete artefact was recovered from Square 1 (Figure 45: a)
and six silcrete, chert and quartz artefacts were recovered from Square 2 (Figure 45: b-g; Table
21). There are clearly visible quartz inclusions less than 1 mm in size within the grey silcrete
materials and the red silcretes are of a generally poor quality.
Artefacts flaked on silcrete (n=5) and quartz (n=2) were collected from surface contexts surrounding
Square 2 (Figure 45: h-n; Table 21).
The assemblages do not show evidence of heat treatment.
In the case of both the excavated and surfaces
assemblages, silcrete is the most dominant
rawmaterial selected for flaking, followed by
quartz. This pattern of raw material use is
common at other sites from areas surrounding
Lake Tyrrell (see Nichols 2002). Silcrete is widely
available throughout the Victorian Mallee (Ross
1982:100; Grist 1995; Kamminga and Grist 2000),
Raw Material Square 1 Square 2 Surface TOTAL
Chert 1 1
Quartz 1 2 3
Silcrete 1 4 5
10
TOTAL 1 6 7 14
Table 21. Box Gully raw materials.
69
k.
m.
n.
l.
d.
h.
i.
a.
g.
f.
j.
c.
b.
e.
5 cm
Figure 45. Flaked stone artefacts from Box Gully. Square 1: a. (artefact #1) silcrete proximal flake; Square 2: b. (artefact #3) quartz split tool; c. (artefact #4) silcrete
split flake; d. (artefact #5) silcrete complete flake; e. (artefact #6) silcrete complete flake; f. (artefact #7) silcrete proximal flake; g. (artefact #8) chert complete flake;
Surface vicinity of Square 2: h. (artefact #9) quartz medial flake; i. (artefact #10) silcrete split flake; j. (artefact #11) silcrete core; k. (artefact #12) silcrete split flake;
l. (artefact #13) silcrete complete flake; m. (artefact #14) quartz complete flake; n. (artefact #15) silcrete angular fragment.
70
however there are no known sources or quarry sites in the vicinity of Lake Tyrrell (see Chapter 5).
Quartz may have an even more distant source, coming into the area from as far away as the
Grampians–Gariwerd (Bell et al. 1981) or other areas of the north west (Grist 1995:7). Coupled
with the total absence of cortex on flaked stone artefacts from the excavated assemblages, the
lack of quarry sites in the Mallee raises questions regarding raw material procurement and utilisation
patterns. One complete silcrete flake from the surface collection does, however, display cortex
along its distal margin. Apart from this artefact, it appears that decortified blocks of stone or decortified
flake blanks were being transported into the area for use during the Pleistocene.
The Composition of Assemblages
The Pleistocene assemblage from Box Gully contains little in the way of debris (angular fragments
and flaked pieces) compared to flakes and tools. The excavated assemblage is composed entirely
of flakes and tools, although an irregular flake with a triangular cross section is noted from Square
2 (Figure 45: l). The single artefact displaying evidence of micro-damage is also from Square 2
(Figure 45: b). In general terms, the Box Gully excavated assemblages display a very limited range
of fracture types, although this is at least partly due to the small sample size (Table 22).
Flaked stone collected from the surface near Square 2 displays a similar composition, with the
inclusion of one angular fragment of red silcrete and a very small core flaked on grey silcrete
(Figure 45: j,n). The presence of these pieces at Box Gully does suggest that some in situ flaking
activities were being undertaken at this location.
Despite the small number of artefacts
recovered from Pleistocene contexts at Box
Gully, it can be stated that neither stone
procurement activities nor primary flaking
activities are consistent with the technological
attributes of the assemblages. The presence
of one quartz tool (also defined as a retouching
flake) also suggests other activities occurred
on site beyond early stage reduction.
Combined, all of these lines of evidence point
to the movement and utilisation of preformed
artefacts during the Pleistocene at Box Gully.
Reduction Strategies
The small assemblage of flakes reflects a basically low intensity reduction strategy. Flake platforms
display simple surface treatments represented by either a single scar (n=3) or crushing (n=2).
Overhang removal along the proximal dorsal edge of flakes also indicates low intensity platform
preparation (n=3), with two incidences of more intensive working. The two complete flakes collected
from surface contexts also reflect simple platform treatments, with one displaying intensive overhang
removal (Figure 45: m).
Early stage reduction and limited core rotation is noted amongst the excavated and surface artefacts.
In this assemblage only one flake, from Square 2, displays more than three dorsal scars and a
pattern of core rotation involving three directional moves. All other flakes have been struck repeatedly
in the direction of the platform and have less than three complete dorsal scars.
Feather terminations are common throughout.
The one core collected from the surface adjacent to Square 2 has four platforms and five flake
removal scars (Figure 45: j). This small multi-platform core (maximum length 14.04 mm) is
Table 22. Fracture types present.
Technology Square 1 Square 2 Surface TOTAL
Complete Flake 2 2 4
Proximal Flake 1 1 2
Split Flake 1 2 3
Medial Flake 1 1
Flake Irregular Form 1 1
Split Tool 1 1
Core 1 1
Angular Fragment 1 1
TOTAL 1 6 7 14
71
extremely worked down, possibly reflecting a conservative
approach to raw material utilisation. This is a likely scenario
based on the known absence of lithic raw materials in the
region.
The average maximum length of all artefacts from the
excavated Squares, regardless of form or raw material
grouping, is 13.6 mm (Table 23). This is comparable to the
mean maximum length of all artefacts collected from the surface around Square 2 (Table 23). In
this case the silcrete angular fragment has been omitted from analyses because of its large size.
The three complete flakes (two silcrete and one chert) from Square 2 have a mean maximum
dimension of 12.50 mm (S.D. 5.0).
Tools
The single tool identified amongst the assemblages is made on quartz (Figure 45: b). This broken
artefact (split tool) has dorsal edge damage in the form of small micro scars along the left margin.
This artefact is extremely small (maximum length 6.14 mm) and may have been formed as the
result of retouching the edge of a larger tool.
Discussion of Flaked Stone Assemblages
The technological patterns observed on the excavated and surface assemblages from Box Gully
indicate low intensity early stage reduction. The presence of a retouched artefact from Square 2
does suggest later stage reduction activities occurring in this location, as does the presence of a
core from the surface collected assemblages. Only one artefact displayed dorsal cortex, therefore
it is likely that mainly decortified material was reduced around the sampled area. This pattern of
production and use may suggest something of the scale and organisation of residential mobility
towards small, short-term campsites.
Identification and Taphonomic
Analysis of Faunal Remains
The Box Gully faunal assemblage is extremely modest
and demonstrates exceptionally poor preservation. Few
diagnostic elements are included, leaving only a minimal
impression of the original assemblage. The animals
identified so far are within the known range of animals
associated with contemporary, semi-arid, riverine mallee
habitats.
Squares 1 and 2 are characterised by small mammal
bone fragments and shingle back lizard scutes (Figure
46). Most of these fragments are burnt and some bone is
calcined, indicating low to very high temperature fires
(Shipman, Foster & Schoeninger 1984, Walshe 1998).
Calcination of bone occurs in very high temperatures,
turning the bone a grey/white or bluish tinge. If burning
continues, complete cremation of the bone will take place,
and ultimately loss of bone from the deposit. The
predominance of burnt bone in the assemblage clearly
indicates increased preservation of burnt bone over
unburnt bone.
Maximum Length (mm)
Number Mean S. D.
Squares 1 & 2 7 13.57 6.75
Surface 6 12.5 5.39
Table 23. Mean maximum length of all
flaked stone artefacts.
Figure 46. Shingle back lizard (Trachydosus
sp.) scute (bony exterior plate), Stratum 5,
Square 2, from below a layer dated to ca.
33,500 CAL BP. Scale is in 1 cm increments.
72
There is some evidence of carnivore activity, indicating scavenging of food debris discarded by
Aboriginal people and/or deposition of scat bone in the site. Either way, scavengers were obviously
associated with the site, no doubt attracted to the scraps. Scavenging activity in Aboriginal camps
prior to contact would have been common and more intense considering the much higher populations
and diversity of scavengers available until ca. 170 years ago. Thus, some of the animals identified
in the site are interpreted as present in the local area rather than as prey or food species (Walshe
2000).
Only the more robust bones have survived: toe and finger bones (phalanges); lower foot bones;
long bone shafts; hip fragments (pelves); auditory canal area of the cranium (periotic bone); and
reptile scutes (bony exterior plates) (Figure 46). These elements or parts of individual skeletal
elements tend to survive well due to their cross sectional strength (Walshe 1998).
Faunal Suite
Excavated bone fragments did not offer diagnostic capability beyond identification at genus level
and frequently only to family level (Table 24, Appendix 5). Recognised animals include: mammals
with a live body weight of 1-3 kg (probably bettongs (Bettongia sp.) and bandicoots); medium
sized mammals; shingle back lizards (Trachydosus sp.) (Figure 46); emu (Dromaius sp.); fresh
water mussel (Figure 47); other small reptiles and birds. These are within the known suite of
animals present in the Victorian mallee region during the Quaternary at least.
Bones collected from around the surface contain a similar suite of animals to those recovered
from the Box Gully excavations (Table 24, Appendix
6, Figure 48). As with the excavated material,
much of the surface collection is not diagnostic
beyond the level of family or genus. Best
identification was found for Bettongia sp. This
animal, once common in the Murray-Darling area,
included the Burrowing Bettong (Bettongia
lesueur), Brush-tailed bettong (Bettongia
penicillata) and the Tasmanian Bettong (Bettongia
gaimardi). Unfortunately only an incomplete lower
tooth row was found, with extremely worn molars.
The premolar and incisors are absent, preventing
a firmer identification. One small molar fragment
indicates the presence of the hare-wallaby. This
animal was also once commonly found in this
region and is most likely the Eastern Hare Wallaby
(Lagorchestes leporides).
Square Stratum Trachydosaurus
sp.
Bettongia
sp.
Dromaius
sp.
Lagor-
chestes
leporides
Macropus
sp.
Small
Mammal
Medium
Mammal
Mammal
>5 kg
Mussel Reptile Bird
14 + + +
23 +
4 + ++ ++ ++
5+
Surface?4 + ++ +++++ ++
Table 24. Summary of Identified faunal remains, Box Gully (see Appendixes 5 and 6).
Figure 47. Fresh water mussel shell fragments,
Stratum 4, Square 1, from a layer dated to ca.28,000
CAL BP. Scale is in 1 cm increments.
73
Shingle Back or Sleepy Lizards hibernate during the
winter, appearing in spring. However, it is suggested
that the best time for collecting these lizards is just
prior to hibernation when fat has been stored for the
long months of winter (Walshe 1998). This information
on its own is insufficient to imply seasonal occupation
of the site, but it may contribute to other lines of
evidence on occupation patterns as the research
continues.
Similarly, the presence of emu egg shell and mussel
shell suggest some possibility of seasonal preference
but are too variable in their growth and laying patterns
to allow any conclusive interpretation. Although emus
generally lay in winter, they are also known to lay
anytime between April and October dependent upon
local, variable conditions. The growth patterns on
freshwater mussel from Willandra Lakes region have
been analysed and results indicate seasonal growth
spurts. Mussel shells are best collected in spring, when
at their ‘fattest’. However, optimal collecting time is
variable and dependent on local conditions rather than
strict calendar months. The few fragmentary remains
of mussel shell from Square 1 do not allow exact identification or age determinations (Figure 47).
Taphonomy
Burning
The burnt bone from the site is black, brown or blue-white in colour (Figure 49). This indicates a
range from low to particularly high temperatures (Walshe 1994, 1998). Black suggests a low
temperature, short-term fire whilst blue-white (calcination) suggests a high temperature, long term
fire or repetitive burning events on the same spot. Personal observations indicate that fresh bone
rapidly turns blue-white in colour due to its higher marrow content.
Carnivores
It is assumed that at ca. 25-35,000 years ago
Sarcophilus sp., Thylacinus sp., Dasyurus sp. (cf.
maculatus and viverrinus) were active in the region.
Bite marks are present as notches across the
transverse ends of broken small mammal limb bones
retrieved from Squares 1 and 2 (Figure 50). These
are consistent with Dasyurus maculatus (Tiger Quoll
or Spotted Tail Quoll) rather than the other carnivores.
This animal is renowned for its ability to hunt and
consume birds, mammals and reptiles up to about three
kilograms in body weight (Walshe 1994, 2000).
Some of the excavated bone may represent scavenger activity and scat deposition during or after
site occupation, rather than directly indicate Aboriginal activity. However, the presence of calcined
bone immediately indicates human agency and thus it is a more likely (and common) scenario
whereby Aboriginal people left food scraps that in turn attracted scavengers (Walshe 2000).
Figure 48. Emu (Dromaius sp.) egg shell
fragment, Surface (vicinity of Square 2). Scale
is in 1 cm increments.
Figure 49. Burnt-calcined small mammal long
bone fragment, Surface (vicinity of Square 2).
Scale is in 1 cm increments.
74
Hunting and Processing of Prey
The average size of prey identified is around 1-2 kg, which
falls into the realm of locally collected, staple dietary items.
This size also allows complete consumption of the animal
without any processing. The 7 flaked stone artefacts retrieved
from the Pleistocene layers within Squares 1 and 2 at Box
Gully do not suggest any particular method for collecting and
processing of animals identified in the site. All of the animals
identified can in fact be caught by hand from the ground or
by digging out rather than by spearing.
One must again be cautious in making assumptions about
dietary patterns. The absence of larger prey (kangaroos,
wallabies, etc) is probably more a reflection of the small
amount of excavation undertaken thus far, rather than a
definite behavioural pattern suggesting a preference for
smaller game or seasonal occupation. However, it is not
uncommon for smaller mammals and reptiles to form the
staple diet in Pleistocene sites in this region, as witnessed at Lake Mungo (Walshe 1998).
Nevertheless, it is curious that there is a complete absence of evidence of larger prey in the
assemblage.
Bone Size and Breakage Pattern
The assemblage consists of very few significantly small fragments of bone. In fact, the assemblage
does not allow breakage patterns to be identified with any degree of statistical validity. Suffice to
say, some breaks are characteristic of the smaller carnivores when eating prey (Walshe 1994).
No breakage can be assigned with any certainty to human agency. The presence of highly burnt
bone indicates human agency, and this too will have contributed to bone fragmentation.
Discussion of Faunal Assemblages
The origin of the faunal assemblages needs to be attributed to both human and other carnivore
activity, in view of the constraints on a more comprehensive analysis. The presence of highly
burnt bone is the best indicator at this point for Aboriginal activity, rather than the bone representing
carnivore activity. Burning does however, cause bone to become highly fragmented, disguising
any evidence of butchering or consumption by Aboriginal people.
Charcoal and Radiocarbon Dating
The distribution of charcoal in Square 1 is characterised by its near absence in Upper Lunette
sediments, its relative concentration in the upper strata of the Lower Lunette, especially in association
with cultural features, and its absence below the palaeosol capping the Lower Lunette (Table 21).
Charcoal distribution in Square 2 is marked by its complete absence in Upper Lunette sediments,
its relative concentration in the upper strata of the Lower Lunette and its rarity below the palaeosol
capping the Lower Lunette (Table 25).
Three cultural pit/hearth features and two additional possible features are the source of most
charcoal found in Square 1. A poorly defined area of burning may be the remains of a hearth
feature and the source for the small amount of charcoal recovered in Square 2. However, the total
amount of charcoal in Stratum 4 in Square 1, with its three definite and two possible features, is
twenty times that found in Stratum 4 in Square 2 (Tables 19,20).
Figure 50. Carnivore damage (notch) on
small mammal long bone fragment,
Stratum 4, Square 1, dated to ca. 29,000
CAL BP. Scale is in 1 cm increments.
75
Six new radiocarbon age determinations have been obtained from the excavations at Box Gully.
Charcoal for radiocarbon dating was packaged in clean plastic vials or wrapped in foil prior to
submission to the Waikato Laboratory in New Zealand for analysis using conventional and
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) techniques. All determinations were assayed on wood
charcoal and have been converted to calendar years using a formula developed by Gillespie (1998)
(Table 25). Calibration of radiocarbon age determinations using Gillespie’s curve facilitates regional
comparisons between the Box Gully data and other sites dated by luminescence methods. Global
and regional palaeoenvironmental events can also be discussed employing a single time scale.
For the extensive catalog of Willandra Lakes radiocarbon dates, Gillespie (1998:171) developed
a ‘smooth calibration curve defined by a second order polynomial’ employing ‘marine carbonate/
terrestrial datasets…and 14C production rate calculations from geomagnetic data’. The formula
is:
CAL Age = 1.40(CRA)-6.83*10-6(CRA2)-1969 years
where CRA=conventional radiocarbon age (Gillespie 1998:172).
Box Gully Discussion
Excavations at Box Gully have conclusively demonstrated that Aboriginal occupation occurred there
prior to the LGM, during the period ca. 33,500-27,500 CAL years ago. There are also indications of
an occupation dating as early as ca. 45,400 CAL years ago. Not only does this extend the known
occupation of the Victorian mallee by some 15,000 to 33,000 years, it is the first documented
evidence of an Aboriginal presence in what is now Victoria prior to 30,000 years ago.
Based on the new radiocarbon age determinations, the length of the main period of Pleistocene
occupation of Box Gully occurred over a span of some 6000 years. The thickness of the artefact
bearing deposits, the relative low density of artefacts and faunal remains, and the varying depths
that different features start and end, indicate that numerous small scale occupation events occurred
at the site during this period. Similarly, the single flaked stone artefact and small amount of
charcoal found in Stratum 5, dated to ca. 45,400 CAL BP, are consistent with this pattern.
The main period of occupation at Box Gully occurred during a period of climatic instability leading to
the extreme drying and temperature depression of the last glacial maximum (LGM) at ca. 21,500
CAL BP (Bowler 1998; Gillespie 1998; Barrows et al. 2002). Lake Tyrrell was less salty than at
present and contained at least seasonal water so that significant pelletal clay dune formation did
not occur, and the top of the lunette formed a stable, vegetated land surface (Macumber 1991).
The nearby Soaks may well have contained fresh water at this time. Also, although the climate
was harsh, a variety of plant and animal resources would have been available around Lake Tyrrell.
Table 25. Radiocarbon age determinations for Squares 1 and 2 Box Gully. Ages are presented in stratigraphic
order within each square.
1. Calibration curve of Gillespie 1998.
Square Layer Spit Stratum Material
Dated
AHU- Conventional
Age
±
1 SD
CAL1 Dating
Method
1 6 11 4 Charcoal 166 22015 125 27511 AMS
1 6 13 4 Charcoal 167 23507 174 29136 Conventi onal
2 2 7 4 Charcoa l 168 24061 144 29731 AMS
2 2 9 4 Charcoa l 169 24372 150 30064 AMS
2 2 12 4 Charcoal 170 27656 202 33494 AMS
2 4 17 5 Charcoal 171 40384 766 45399 AMS
76
The evidence from Box Gully must be considered a composite record of an unknown number of
independent occupation events. People camping at the site employed open fire-places and fire-
pits for heating and cooking purposes. Foods such as bettongs, hare-wallabys, shingle-backed
lizards, emu eggs and fresh water mussels, all of which would have been available in the vicinity of
the camp or the nearby Soaks, were prepared and consumed on the site. Stone working activities
indicate low intensity, early stage reduction of material brought into the site from elsewhere in a
partially processed form. The presence of a core and a retouched artefact also suggest the
occurrence of later stage reduction and use activities. This pattern of flaked stone production and
use, along with the faunal assemblage, is consistent with pre-planned, small-scale, short-term
visits to Box Gully. These visits occurred repeatedly over a long span of time. When people were
not present, carnivores such as the Tiger Quoll scavenged food remains left behind.
Regional Comparisons
Regionally, the best known pre-LGM archaeological record comes from the Willandra Lakes, located
~150 km north of Box Gully (Figure 51, Table 26). Jim Bowler is largely responsible for reconstructing
the palaeoenvironmental record for the lakes, providing a context for dating and interpreting the
associated archaeological data (Bowler 1998; Bowler et al. 2003). The first formation of relevance
here is the Lower Mungo Unit (LMU), which Bowler (1998) divides into a LMU-Sands sub-unit and
a LMU-Soil sub-unit. The LMU-Sands, deposited during an extended period of sand dune building
during a high fresh water lake phase, contain scattered, sparse evidence of human activity in the
ca. 50,000-45,000 CAL BP period (Bowler et al. 2003:839). At Box Gully, the single flake and
associated charcoal flecks found in the body of the Lower Lunette correspond in age to these
ephemeral traces of human occupation at Willandra, but the environmental setting differs in that
they correspond to a Pelletal Clay Dune (PCD) building phase at Lake Tyrrell, when the saline lake
must have been dry or nearly dry (Table 27).
The LMU-Soil capping the sands at Willandra is an archaeologically rich former land surface dating
between ca. 45,000-40,000 CAL BP (Bowler et al. 2003:839). There is no equivalent to this sub-
unit at Box Gully. Similarly, the subsequent Upper Mungo Unit characterised by lower lake levels,
minor soil formation and PCD building, with associated hearths and fish/shell middens and dating
to ca. 40,000-36,000 CAL BP, also has no counterpart at Lake Tyrrell (Tables 26,27).
The Arumpo Unit at Willandra dates to ca. 36,000-22,000 CAL BP during a period of oscillating lake
levels and consequent alternating PCD building/soil formation phases. The cultural record
associated with the Arumpo Unit is characterised by few fish/shell middens and has the most
notable concentration of hearths and ovens in the Willandra sequence, often with associated highly
Table 26. Willandra Lakes environmental changes and cultural associations (from Bowler 1998, Bowler et. al
2003).
Willandra Unit Start
Date
End
Date
Environ-
ment
Lake Levels Willandra Dune
Formation
Cultural Associations With
Dunes/Lake Shorelines
Lower Mun
g
o
Sand
50,000 45,000 cold, wet major deep
freshwater phase
sand dune building
phase
sparse evidence for human
occupation
Lower Mun
g
o
Soil
45,000 40,000 increasin
g aridity
semi-permanent
freshwater
soil formation,
vegetated land surface
abundant artefacts; also
hearths, fish/shell middens,
burials
Upper Mungo 40,000 36,000 regional
drying
lower lake levels,
lake bed deflation
episodic PCD
formation, minor soil
formation
few hearths, some fish/shell
middens
Arumpo Unit 36,000 22,000 fall ing
temps/rai
nfall
episodic
oscillations in
lake levels, lake
PCD formation,
intermittent soil
formation
many hearths and ovens, few
shell middens
bed deflation
77
Figure 51. South East Australian Pleistocene sites discussed in the text.
burnt and fragmented small animal remains (Bowler 1998; Walshe 1998). Similarly, Box Gully
deposits dating from 33,500 to 27,500 CAL BP are characterised by hearth and oven features with
associated small animal remains that accumulated on a stable land surface (top of Lower Lunette)
78
(Table 27). It is particularly significant that most of the fireplaces at Willandra date to the 35-27,000
CAL BP period, corresponding to a major drop in global sea levels and, in SE Australia decreases
in lake levels and fluvial activity and an increase in aeolian activity (Gillespie 1998:180; Kershaw et
al. in press). Gillespie (1998:180) suggests that the pattern of decreased numbers of fish/shell
middens and increased numbers of fireplace/ovens: “...can be interpreted as a human response to
dwindling lacustrine resources, with more reliance placed on terrestrial fauna for nutrition during a
time of fluctuating but generally lower lake levels.” The major difference between Box Gully and
Willandra is that the stable land surface at Box Gully would argue for water in Lake Tyrrell during
this period, however, unlike most of the Willandra Lakes, Tyrrell was not a source of food resources
due to its salinity.
Evidence for human occupation is scarce at Willandra during the deteriorating environmental
conditions ca. 26,000-22,000 CAL BP leading up to the LGM at ca. 21,500 -20,000 CAL BP (Bowler
1998:139,148; Gillespie 1998:171, Figure 3). It is similarly scarce along the Lower Darling, including
Lake Tandou (Gillespie 1998:Figure 5; Bowler 1998:149; Balme and Hope1990:Table 1), and there
is no evidence for human occupation at Lake Tyrrell after ca. 27,500 CAL BP until well into the
Holocene (see Chapter 5).
Three sites 70-90 km to the north west of Lake Tyrrell have dated evidence of human occupation
prior to the LGM (Figure 47, Table 28). All three are in or adjacent to the Murray River valley, which
would have carried fresh water throughout the late Pleistocene and is expected to have been
capable of supporting a resident Aboriginal population. Karadoc Swamp is a stratified shell midden
in the Karadoc lunette, located a few kilometres west of the Murray River, and was occupied at
least twice during the late Pleistocene, once at ca. 25,000 CAL BP2 and again at ca. 22,800 CAL
BP2 (Luebbers 1995). Merbein Common (JH-1) is another stratified shell midden, but located on a
former Murray River bank/escarpment (Coutts 1977). Dates on shell again suggest two periods of
occupation (Table 28). The first is indicated by a single shell date of ca. 22,600 CAL BP and the
second has three dates in the 20,400-20,700 CAL BP2 range (Coutts 1977; Williams 1998). Finally,
yet another shell midden, this one located on a relict Murray River bank at Monak, NSW, has dates
of ca. 25,700 and 24,900 CAL BP2 (Edmonds 1997).
The above mentioned sites are highly visible fresh water shell middens, which are notably rare
elsewhere in this region during the period ca. 26,000-20,000 CAL BP. They indicate continued
human occupation in the region throughout the LGM. The timing of the occupation of these sites
suggests a shift of human population from the largely dry lakes to the Murray River and perhaps
other rivers (cf. Bowler 1998:149), or alternatively less seasonal usage of the lakes by populations
largely resident along the rivers. Evidence for human occupation picks up again after ca. 22,000
CAL BP at Tandou (Balme and Hope 1990:Table 1) and after ca. 20,000 CAL BP at Willandra
(Bowler 1998:149; Gillespie 1998: Figure 5), while continuing to be present along the Murray River
valley.
Table 27. Lake Tyrrell lunette formation and cultural associations at Box Gully.
Geomorphic
Unit
Start Date End D ate Lunette Formation Cultural Associations Oxygen Isotope
Stage
Sea Levels (m) Date
Lower
Lunette C
>76,000 >45,000 PCD buil ding no evidence for human
occupation
4,3 -68 50,000
Lower
Lunette B
>45,000 35,000 PCD building sparse evidence for
human occupation
3 -70 45,000
- 78 40,000
Lower
Lunette A
35,000 27,500 soil formation, veg.
land surface
artefacts, hearths/ovens 3 -74 35, 000
- 98 30,000
Upper
Lunette C
27,500 ? PCD building no evidence for human
occupation
3 -104 25,000
79
From ca. 26,000 to 20,000 CAL BP, some of this area was less frequently visited (e.g. Willandra,
Lower Darling) or abandoned (e.g. Lake Tyrrell), probably due to the extreme environmental conditions
as reconstructed by Bowler (1998:149) for the Willandra Lakes area during the LGM:
Wind strength during this interval was greatly amplified...Woodland vegetation
disappeared under conditions of both water and temperature stress. Desert sand
dunes rolled across the land...rendering depauperate former hunting grounds now
depleted of both small and large marsupial fauna. The association of very strong
winds with cold, often freezing winter conditions, in a regime of greatly diminished
rainfall, produced conditions inimical to many plants and animals. Survival stress on
humans, at the top of that food chain, deprived of both aquatic and woodland resources,
and devoid of even basic protection from freezing winds, remain almost impossible for
us to imagine today....this period of maximum stress lasted several thousand
years....Humans...would have found refuge along the margins of rivers which, for at
least a great part of the year, were nourished by increased catchment efficiency assisted
by low evaporation....
Moving further afield, there are excavated occupation deposits dating as early as ca. 27,700 CAL
BP2 at Drual Rockshelter (Bird et al. 1998), located ~150 km to the south of Box Gully at Gariwerd
(Figure 51, Table 28). Initial occupation evidence at New Guinea II Cave, located in East Gippsland
~400 km to the south east of Box Gully, dates as early as ca. 26,400 CAL BP2 (Ossa et al. 1995)
(Figure 51, Table 28). It is notable that these upland cave and rockshelter sites begin to be
occupied as the climate deteriorates and as arid areas appear to be become less populated. The
caves and rockshelters may well continue to be occupied through the LGM (Table 28).
Conclusions
The investigations at Box Gully reported here add significant new evidence to the current picture
of early settlement and occupation of south eastern Australia. The major period of Aboriginal
occupation at this site begins where previously documented occupation evidence of Victoria leaves
off, ca. 27,500 CAL BP, and extends at least a further 6000 years to ca. 33,500 CAL BP. The earlier
evidence at Box Gully, dating to ca. 45,400 CAL BP suggests an initial period of ephemeral site
visits.
Table 28. Calibrated ages for selected south east Australian late Pleistocene radiocarbon dates.
1. Calibration curve of Gillespie 1998.
Location Geomorphological
Unit
Material
Dated
Convent.
Age BP
+ 1 sd. Lab
Reference
CAL1
Age
Reference
Drual (7723-26) Rockshelter floor charcoal 22140 160 Beta-88523 27648 Bird et al. 1998:34
Drual (7723-26) Rockshelter floor charcoal 22160 150 Beta-98020 27670 Bird et al. 1998:35
Drual (7723-26) Rockshelter floor charcoal 15840 120 Beta-88522 20463 Bird et al. 1998:35
New Guinea II Cave Cave floor charcoal 21000 900/800 SUA-2222 26388 Ossa et al. 1995:28
New Guinea II Cave Cave floor charcoal 14600 2100/1600 SUA-2221 18984 Ossa et al. 1995:28
Karadoc Swamp Lunette shell 17820 90 Beta-48997 22779 Luebbers 1995
Karadoc Swamp Lunette shell 19890 220 Beta-58969 25144 Luebbers 1995
Merbein JH-1 Escarpment slope shell 15820 200 SUA-964 20439 Coutts 1977
Merbein JH-1 Escarpment slope shell 15770 90 Beta-117981 20379 Williams 1998
Merbein JH-1 Escarpment slope shell 16030 90 Beta-117984 20687 Williams 1998
Merbein JH-1 Escarpment slope shell 17700 100 Beta-117983 22640 Williams 1998
Monak NSW Relict river bank shell 19670 1030/910 CS-141 24895 Edmonds 1997
Monak NSW Relict river bank shell 20420 1130/990 CS-159 25740 Edmonds 1997
80
Notes
1. SDRmap version 6.50-01, Datacom Software Research, 1998.
2. Calibration has been undertaken by the authors of this report using the Gillespie 1998 curve
on the raw radiocarbon dates reported by the original investigators.
Areas such as the Willandra Lakes are highly favoured occupation loci from ca. 45,000 CAL BP.
From ca. 35,000-27,000 CAL BP, a period of deteriorating climatic conditions, an increase in the
use of hearths and ovens is notable throughout the region, including at Box Gully. From ca. 26,000-
20,000 CAL BP occupation evidence (particularly fish/shell middens) is scarce at Willandra Lakes
and on the Lower Darling, while Lake Tyrrell is abandoned altogether. At around the same time,
shell middens appear for the first time in the central Murray River valley (e.g. Karadoc Swamp,
Monak and Merbein Common), while cave and rockshelter sites in the uplands of southern Victoria
begin to be occupied (e.g. New Guinea II, Drual) (Figure 47).
85
Allen, Harry
1974 The Bagundji of the Darling Basin: cereal gatherers in an uncertain environment.
World Archaeology 5: 309-322.
1990 Environmental history in southwestern New South Wales during the Late Pleistocene.
In C. Gamble and O. Soffer (eds.), The World at 18,000 BP: Low Latitudes, pp. 296-
321. Unwin Hyman, London.
Bahn, Paul
1992 Collins Dictionary of Archaeology. Harper Collins, Glasgow.
Balme, Jane
1995a The antiquity of grinding stones in semi-arid western New South Wales. Australian
Archaeology 32: 3-9.
1995b 30,000 years of fishery in western New South Wales. Archaeology in Oceania 30(1):
1-21.
Balme, Jane M. and Jeannette H. Hope
1990 Radiocarbon dates from midden sites in the lower Darling River area of New South
Wales. Archaeology in Oceania 25( ): 85-101.
Barbetti, M. and Harry Allen
1972 Prehistoric man at Lake Mungo, Australia, by 32,000 years BP. Nature 240: 46-48.
Barrows, T.T., J.O. Stone, L.K. Fifield and R.G. Cresswell
2002 The timing of the last glacial maximum in Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews
21: 159-173.
Beaton, J. M.
1983 Does intensification account for changes in the Australian Holocene archeological
record? Archaeology in Oceania 18: 94-97.
Bell, D., Ross, A. and Silcox, R.
1981 An Archaeological Survey of Lake Wahpool and Lake Timboram in North-Western
Victoria. Occasional Reports Series Number 4. Victoria Archaeological Survey,
Melbourne.
Beveridge, P.
1889 The Aborigines of Victoria and Riverina. M. L. Hutchinson, Melbourne.
Bird, Carolyn F. M.
n.d. The Classification of Artefacts from South-west Victoria. Draft.
Bird, Carolyn F. M. and David Frankel
1991a Chronology and explanation in western Victoria and south east South Australia.
Archaeology in Oceania 26: 1-13.
1991b Problems in constructing a prehistoric regional sequence: Holocene south-east
Australia. World Archeology 23 (2): 179-192.
1998 Pleistocene and early Holocene archaeology in Victoria. A view from Gariwerd. The
Artefact 21: 48-62.
References
86
Bird, Carolyn F.M, David Frankel and Nora van Waarden
1998 New radiocarbon determinations from the Grampians-Gariwerd region, western
Victoria. Archaeology in Oceania 33 (1): 31-36.
Blackhall, S.
1980 Diet of the Eastern Native Cat, Dasyurus viverrinus (Shaw) in southern Tasmania.
Australian Wildlife Research 7: 191-197.
Bowdler, Sandra and S. O’Connor
1991 The dating of the Australian Small Tool Tradition, with new evidence from the Kimberley,
WA. Australian Aboriginal Studies 1: 53-62.
Bowler, Jim M.
1971 Pleistocene salinities and climatic change: evidence from lakes and lunettes in
southeastern Australia. In D. J. Mulvaney and J. Golson (eds.), Aboriginal Man and
Environment, pp. 47-65. Australian National University Press, Canberra.
1973 Clay dunes: their occurrence, formation and environmental significance. Earth-
Science Reviews 9: 315-338.
1976 Aridity in Australia: age, origins and expression in aeolian landforms and sediments.
Earth-Science Reviews 12 (2-3): 279-310.
1998 Willandra Lakes revisited: environmental framework for human occupation.
Archaeology in Oceania 33: 120-155.
Bowler, Jim M. and John W. Magee
1978 Geomorphology of the Mallee region in semi-arid Victoria and western New South
Wales. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 90: 5-26.
Bowler, Jim M. and D.M. Price
1998 Luminescence dates and stratigraphic analysis at Lake Mungo: review and new
perspectives. Archaeology in Oceania 33: 156-168.
Bowler, Jim M. and J.F. Teller
1986 Quaternary evaporites and hydrological changes, Lake Tyrrell, north-west Victoria.
Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 33: 43-63.
Bowler, Jim M. and J.R. Wasson
1984 Glacial age environments of inland Australia. In J.C. Vogel (ed.) Late Cainozoic
Palaeoclimates of the Southern Hemisphere, pp. 183-208. Balkema, Rotterdam.
Bowler, Jim M., Rhys Jones, Harry R. Allen and Allan G. Thorne
1970 Pleistocene human remains from Australia: a living site and human cremation from
Lake Mungo. World Archaeology 2: 29-60.
Bowler, Jim M., G.S. Hope, J.N. Jennings, G. Singh and D. Walker
1976 Late Quaternary climates of Australia and New Guinea. Quaternary Research 6:
359-394.
Bowler, Jim M., Harvey Johnston, Jon M. Olley, John R. Prescott, Richard G. Roberts, Wilfred
Shawcross and Nigel A. Spooner
2003 New ages for human occupation and climatic change at Lake Mungo, Australia.
Nature 421: 837-840.
87
Brough Smyth, R.
1878 The Aborigines of Australia. Volumes I and II. John Ferres, Government Printer,
Melbourne.
Butlin, N. G.
1983 Our Original Aggression. Aboriginal Populations of Southeastern Australia 1788-
1850. George Allen and Unwin, Sydney.
Cane, S.
1989 Australian Aboriginal seed grinding and its archaeological record: a case study from
the western desert. In D. R. Harris and G. C. Hillman (eds.), Foraging and Farming.
The Evolution of Plant Exploitation, pp. 99-119. Unwin Hyman, London.
Chappell, John
1991 Late Quaternary environmental changes in Eastern and Central Australia, and their
climatic interpretation. Quaternary Science Reviews 10: 377-390.
Clark, Ian
1990 Aboriginal languages and Clans: An Historical Atlas of Western and Central Victoria,
1800-1900. Monash Publications, Victoria.
Coutts, P. J. F.
1977 Aboriginal Prehistory in North Western Victoria. Victoria Archaeological Survey,
Melbourne.
1978 Victoria archeological survey activities report 1977/78. In P. J. F. Coutts (ed.),
Records of the Victorian Archaeological Survey 8, pp. 1-23. Ministry for
Conservation, Victoria.
1980 Victoria archaeological survey report of activities 1978-79. In P. J. F. Coutts (ed.),
Records of the Victorian Archaeological Survey 10, pp. 1-40. Ministry for
Conservation, Victoria.
Dubbin, W.
1991 Soils. The Natural History Museum, London Support Unit 1.
Edmonds, Vanessa
1997 An Archaeological Survey of the Tyrrell and Lalbert Drainage System. Unpublished
report by Archaeological Consulting Services to Swan Hill and District Aboriginal
Co-operative Ltd.
Edmonds, Vanessa , Andrew Long, Petra Schell and Julia Cusack
1998 Lake Daytrap, Chinkapook, North West Victoria; Archaeological Survey. Unpublished
report to Cheetham Salt Limited.
Foley, R.
1981 Off-site archaeology: an alternative approach for the short-sited. In I. Hodder, G.
Isaac and N. Hammond (eds.), Pattern of the Past, Studies in Honour of David
Clarke, pp. 157 – 181. Cambridge University press, Cambridge.
Fullagar, Richard and Field, J.
1997 Pleistocene seed-grinding implements from the Australian arid zone. Antiquity 71:
300-307.
88
Gillespie, Richard
1998 Alternative timescales: a critical review of Willandra Lakes dating. Archaeology in
Oceania 33:169-182.
Gott, Beth and Conran, J.
1991 Victorian Koorie Plants. Some Plants used by Victorian Koories for Food, Fibre,
Medicines and Implements. Yangennanock Women’s Group, Aboriginal Keeping
Place. Hamilton, Victoria.
Green, R.H.
1967 Notes of the Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) and the Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) in north-
eastern Tasmaina. Records of the Queen Victoria Museum 27:1-13.
Griffiths, T.
1996 Hunters and Collectors. The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia. Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge.
Grist, Mark J.
1995 An archaeological investigation into the “no stone saga” of far north-west Victoria: A
Study of the Berribee Quarries in the Landscape. Unpublished BA Honours Thesis.
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra.
Gunn, R.
2001 Northern Mallee Pipeline Project – Stage 7 (Tempy Area) Archaeological Surveys.
An unpublished report to Wimmera Mallee Water.
Harrison, S.
1993 Late Quaternary lake-level changes and climates of Australia. Quaternary Science
Reviews 12: 211-231.
Hiscock, P and Attenbrow, V.
1998 Early backed artefacts from Australia. Archaeology in Oceania 33: 49-62.
Hope, Jeannette H.
1993 Pleistocene archaeological sites in the central Murray Darling Basin. In Sahul in
Review, ed. by M.A. Smith, M. Spriggs and B. Fankhauser, pp 183-196. Department
of Prehistory, Australian National University.
Hope, Jeannette H., A. Dare-Edwards and Mike L. Macintyre
1983 Middens and megafauna: stratigraphy and dating of Lake Tandou lunette, western
New South Wales. Archaeology in Oceania 18:45-53.
Jacobson, G., Ferguson, J. and Evans, W. R.
1994 Groundwater-discharge playas of the Mallee region, Murray Basin, southeast
Australia. In M. R. Rosen (ed.), Palaeoclimate and Basin Evolution of Playa Systems,
pp. 81-96. Geological Society of America Special Paper 289. Boulder, Colorado.
Johnston, Rochelle
2001 Lake Tyrrell Survey Handout.
Kefous, K.
1982 Comment. Prehistoric Site patterning in the Victorian Mallee. Archaeology in Oceania
17: 98-99.
Kenyon, A. S.
1982 The Story of the Mallee. Wilke and Company, Victoria.
89
Kershaw, P.
1989 Was there a ‘Great Australian Arid Period’? Search 20(3): 89-92.
Kershaw, P. and G.C. Nanson
1993 The last full glacial cycle in the Australian region. Global and Planetary Change 7:
1-9.
Kershaw, P., P. Moss and S. van der Kaars
in press Causes and consequences of long-term climatic variability on the Australian continent.
Freshwater Biology 48: 1-10.
Kirk, R. L.
1983 Aboriginal Man Adapting. The Human Biology of Australian Aborigines. Oxford
University Press, Melbourne.
Land Conservation Council, Victoria
1974 Report on the Mallee Study Area.
Lawrence, R.
1968 Aboriginal Habitat and Economy. Occasional Papers No. 6. Australia National
University, Canberra.
Long, Andrew and Glenn Berrill
2001 Bumbang Island Cultural Heritage Management Plan. Unpublished report to Aboriginal
Affairs Victoria and the North West Region Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Program.
Long, Andrew and Vanessa Edmonds
1999 Cheetham Salt Works, Site 3, Lake Tyrrell: Archaeological Survey. Unpublished
report to Cheetham Salt Limited.
Lloyd, Keva L.
1997 Then Awake Sea Lake. A History of the Sea Lake District and Tyrrell Station. Sea
Lake Centenary Committee, Sea Lake.
Lloyd, Keva L. and A. Mills
1973 Sea Lake. Compiled for the Back to Sea Lake Committee, Victoria.
Lourandos, Harry
1980 Change or Stability? Hydraulics, hunter-gatherers and population in temperate
Australia. World Archaeology 11(3): 245-264.
1985 Intensification in Australian prehistory. In T. D. Price and J. A. Brown (eds.), Prehistoric
Hunter-Gatherers, The Emergence of Cultural Complexity, pp. 385-423. Academic
Press, Orlando.
1983 Intensification: a late Pleistocene-Holocene archeological sequence from
Southwestern Victoria. Archaeology in Oceania 18: 81-94.
1997 Continent of Hunter-Gatherers. New Perspectives in Australian Prehistory.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Luebbers, Roger
1995 An archaeological survey of Karadoc Swamp Northwest Victoria. Unpublished report
on file, Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, Melbourne.
90
Luebbers, Roger and Isabel Ellender
1991 An assessment of archaeological Aboriginal sites in the northwest of Victoria.
Unfinished report to the Victoria Archaeological Survey, on file at Aboriginal Affairs
Victoria.
Luly, J. G.
1993 Holocene palaeoenvironments near Lake Tyrrell, semi-arid northwestern Victoria,
Australia. Journal of Biogeography 20: 587-589.
Luly, J. G., Bowler, J. M. and Head, M. J.
1986 A radiocarbon chronology from the playa Lake Tyrrell, Northwestern Victoria,
Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 54: 171-180.
Mabbutt, J. A.
1971 The Australian arid zone as a prehistoric environment. In D. J. Mulvaney and J.
Golson (eds.), Aboriginal Man and Environment in Australia, pp. 66 – 79. Australian
National University Press, Canberra.
McBryde, Isobel
1984 Kulin Greenstone Quarries: the social contexts of production and distribution for the
Mount William site. World Archaeology 16 (2): 267-285.
McLennan, Jennifer
1994 Time, Tide and the Tyrrell. A History of the Shire of Wycheproof. Hargreen Publishing
Company, North Melbourne.
Macumber, Philip
1991 Interaction Between Groundwater and Surface Systems in Northern Victoria.
Department of Conservation and Environment, Melbourne.
Marshall, Brendan and Graeme Bentley
1998 Robinvale Rifle Range Shell Midden (AAV Site No 7428-750) Landscape Management
Plan. Unpublished report to Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, Melbourne.
Marshall, Brendan, Petra Schell and M. Walsh
1996 Northern Mallee Pipeline Project Desktop Archaeological Study. Unpublished report
to Wimmera Mallee Water.
Massola, Aldo
1966 The Aborigines of the Mallee. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 79: 267-
75.
1969 Journey to Aboriginal Victoria. Rigby Limited, Adelaide.
May, P. and Richard L.K. Fullagar
1980 Aboriginal exploitation of the southern Mallee. In P. J. F. Coutts (ed.), Records of the
Victorian Archaeological Survey 10, pp. 152-173. Ministry for Conservation, Victoria.
Meagher, David
1991 The Macmillian Dictionary of the Australian Environment. The Macmillan Company
of Australia Pty Ltd, South Melbourne.
Miller, G.H., J.M. Magee and A.J.T. Jull
1997 Low-latitude glacial cooling in the Southern Hemisphere from amino-acid
racemisation in emu eggshells. Nature 385: 241-244.
91
Mitchell, S. R.
1949 Stone-Age Craftsmen. Tait Book Company, Melbourne.
Muhlen-Schulte, R.
1985 Mungo Rocks: A technological Analysis of Stone Assemblages from Lake Mungo.
Unpublished BA (Hons) thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.
O’Connell, J. F. and K. Hawkes
1981 Alyawara plant use and optimal foraging theory. In B. Winterhalder and E. A. Smith
(eds.), Hunter-Gatherer Foraging Strategies. Ethnographic and Archeological
Analyses, pp. 99-115. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Ossa, Paul, Brendan Marshall and Cathie Webb
1995 New Guinea II Cave: a pleistocene site on the Snowy River, Victoria. Archaeology in
Oceania 30 (1): 22-35.
Pardoe, Colin
1995 Riverine, biological and cultural evolution in southeastern Australia. Antiquity 69:
696-713.
Pels, S.
1971 River systems and climate changes in southeastern Australia. In D. J. Mulvaney
and J. Golson (eds.), Aboriginal Man and Environment in Australia, pp. 38 – 46.
Australian National University Press, Canberra.
Richards, Thomas
1998 A Predictive Model of Aboriginal Archaeological Site Distribution in the Otway Range.
Occasional Report No. 49. Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, Melbourne.
Richards, Thomas and Joanne Jordan
1999 Aboriginal Archaeological Investigations in the Barwon Drainage Basin. Occasional
Report No. 50. Aboriginal Affairs Victoria, Melbourne.
Ross, Ann
1981 Holocene environments and prehistoric site patterning in the Victorian Mallee.
Archaeology in Oceania 16 (3): 145-154.
1982 Absence of evidence: reply to Keryn Kefous. Archaeology in Oceania 17: 99-101.
1984 If there were water: prehistoric settlement patterns in the Victorian Mallee.
Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, School of Earth Sciences, Macquarie University.
1986 Aboriginal archaeology in South Eastern Australia. In A. Ross (ed.), Planning for
Aboriginal Site Management: A Handbook for Local Government Planners, pp. 4-
16. New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.
1988 Archaeology and ethnography in the Victorian Mallee. In B. Meehan and R. Jones
(eds.), Archaeology with Ethnography: An Australian Perspective, pp. 260 – 266.
Department of Prehistory, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National
University, Canberra.
Ross, Ann, T. Donnelly and R. Wasson
1992 The Peopling of the Arid Zone: Human-environment Interactions. In J. Dodson (ed.),
The Naïve Lands. Prehistory and Environmental Change in Australia and the
Southwest Pacific, pp. 76-114. Longman Cheshire, Melbourne.
92
Schell, Petra and Brendan Marshall
1996 Northern Mallee Pipeline Project Archaeological Survey. Unpublished report to
Wimmera Mallee Water.
Shawcross, Wilfred
1998 Archaeological excavations at Mungo. Archaeology in Oceania 33: 183-200.
Schick, Kathy D.
1986 Stone Age Sites in the Making. Experiments in the Formation and Transportation of
Archaeological Occurrences. BAR International Series 319, Oxford.
Schick, Kathy D. and Nicholas Toth
1993 Making Silent Stones Speak. Human Evolution and the Dawn of Technology.
Phoenix, London.
Shipman, P., G. Foster and M. Schoeninger
1984 Burnt bones and teeth:an experimental study of colour, morphology, crystal structure
and shrinkage. Journal Of Archaeological Science 11: 307-325.
Smith, Michael A.
1989 Seed gathering in inland Australia: current evidence from seed-grinders on the
antiquity of the ethnohistorical pattern of exploitation. In D. R. Harris and G. C. Hillman
(eds.), Foraging and Farming, pp. 304-317. Unwin Hyman, London.
1993 Biogeography, human ecology and prehistory in the Sandridge deserts. Australian
Archaeology 37: 33-50.
Stanbridge, William
1857 On the astronomy and mythology of the Aborigines of Victoria. Proceedings of the
Philosophical Institute, Melbourne.
Sutherland, Phillippa and Thomas Richards
1994 Shire of Bulla Aboriginal Archaeological Study. Shire of Bulla, Sunbury.
Thom, B. G.
1992 Environmental Change in the Late Quaternary. In J. Dodson (ed.), The Nieve Lands.
Prehistory and Environmental Change in Australia and the Southwest Pacific, pp. 9-
12. Longman Cheshire, Melbourne.
Thomas, David H.
1989 Archaeology (Second Edition), Holt, Rinehart & Winston Inc., Fort Worth USA
Tindale, Norman B.
1974 Aboriginal Tribes of Australia. Volume 1. University of California Press, Berkeley.
1976 Some ecological bases for Australian tribal boundaries. In N. Peterson (ed.), Tribes
and Boundaries in Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra. pp.
12-29.
Walshe, Keryn
1994 A taphonomic analysis of the vertebrate material from Allen’s Cave: implications for
Australian arid zone archaeology. Unpublished PhD thesis, Department of
Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University.
93
1998 Taphonomy of Mungo B assemblage: indicators for subsistence and occupation at
Lake Mungo. Archaeology in Oceania 33 (3): 201-206.
2000 Carnivores, taphonomy and dietary stress at Puntutjarpa, Serpent’s Glen and Intitjikula.
Archaeology in Oceania 35 (2): 74-81.
Witter, Dan
1977 Unpublished field notes, Victoria Archaeological Survey. On file, Aboriginal Affairs
Victoria, Melbourne
Zhisheng, A., J.M. Bowler, N.D. Opdyke, P.G. Macumber and J.B. Firman
1986 Palaeomagnetic stratigraphy of Lake Bungunnia: Plio-Pliestocene precursor of aridity
in the Murray Basin, Southeastern Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology,
Palaeoecology 54: 219-239.
Zola, N. and Gott, Beth
1992 Koorie Plants for Koorie People. Traditional Aboriginal Food, Fibre and Healing Plants
of Victoria. Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne.
119
Appendix 5. Box Gully Faunal Remains, Excavation
Square Spit Layer Diagnostic- element Animal,family,genus,species Taphonomic comme nt
1 11 6 scutes x 8 Trachy dosaurus sp. burnt
1 11 6 long bone fragment small mammal, 1-2kg calcined
1 11 6 long bone fragment small mammal, 1-2kg burnt
1 11 6 freshwater shell mus sell unburnt
1 12 6 c arpal small mammal, 1-2kg burnt
1 12 6 pelvis x 2 small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
1 12 6 freshwater shell mus sell unburnt
1 12 6 shell land snail unburnt
1 12 Feature B pelve small mammal, 1-2kg burnt
1 13 6 long bone fragments x 10 small mammal, 1-2kg burnt
1 13 6 scute x 2 Trachydosaurus sp. burnt
1 13 6 tarsal small mam mal, 1-2kg burnt
1 13 6 inc omplete long bone s mall mammal, 1-2kg calc ined, carbonate coated,
notched end cf. bite
1 14 6 rib fragment x 2 small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
1 14 6 caudal vertebrae small mam mal, 1-2kg unburnt
1 14 6 cranial fragment small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
1 14 6 inc isor x 6 small mammal, 1-2kg calcined
1 14 6 pelvic fragment small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
1 14 6 proximal epiphys is radius s mall mam mal, 1-2kg unburnt
1 14 6 scute x 2 Trachydosaurus sp. unburnt
2 6 4 long bone fragments x 2 s mall mam mal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 7 4 sc ute x 2 Trachydos aurus sp. burnt
2 7 4 tarsal s mall mam mal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 7 4 long bone fragment cf. bird unburnt
2 7 4 long bone fragments x 6 s mall mam mal, 1-2kg burnt
2 7 4 sc ute x 3 Trachydos aurus sp. burnt
2 7 4 premolar fragment cf. Bettongia sp. white
2 8 4 pelvis cf. small reptile unburnt
2 8 4 egg shell Dromaius sp. unburnt
2 8 4 scute Trachydosaurus sp. burnt
2 8 4 distal t ibia, fused epiphysis Bet tongia s p. burnt
2 8 4 c f. pelvic fragments x 12 small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 8 4 long bone fragments x 12 s mall mam mal, 1-2kg burnt x 16, c alcined x 3
2 8 4 sc ute x 3 Trachydos aurus sp. c alcined
2 8 4 pelvis medium mammal, 2-3kg unburnt
2 8 4 long bone fragment s mall mammal, 1-2kg notched + flaked end, cf. bite
2 9 5 scute fragments, numerous Trachydosaurus sp. burnt
2 9 5 egg shell fragments x 2 Dromaius sp. unburnt
2 9 5 long bone fragments small mammal, 1-2kg burnt
2 9 5 cranial fragments s mall mam mal, 1-2kg calcined
2 9 5 pelvic fragments x 2 small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 9 5 s cutes x 7 Trachydosaurus sp. burnt
2 9 5 metapodial proximal small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 10 5 s cute fragm ents, numerous Trachydosaurus sp. burnt
2 10 5 long bone fragments x 5 s mall mam mal, 1-2kg burnt
2 10 5 long bone fragments x 5 s mall mam mal, 1-2kg calcined
2 10 5 pelvic fragment reptile unburnt
2 10 5 dis tal fragment long bone small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 10 5 vertbral fragment small mam mal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 10 5 molar fragment cf. Lagorchestes s p. unburnt, cusp
2 10 5 egg s hell Dromaius s p. unburnt
2 11 5 long bone fragments x 5 s mall mam mal, 1-2kg burnt, calc ined
2 11 5 long bone fragment small mammal, 1-2kg calcined
2 11 5 pelvic fragment small mammal, 1-2kg calcined
2 11,12 5 scute Trachydos aurus sp. burnt
2 11,12 5 long bone fragment c f. reptile unburnt
2 11,12 5 vertebrae medium mammal, 2-3kg unburnt
2 12 5 distal femoral epiphysis cf. Bettongia s p. unburnt
2 12 5 as tragulus medium mammal, 2-3kg unburnt
120
Square Spit Layer Diagnostic- eleme nt Animal,family,genus,species Taphonomic comment
2 12 5 long bone fragments x 3 smal l mammal, 1-2kg calcined
2 12 5 pelvic fragment small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
2 12 5 scute Trachy dosaurus sp. unburnt
2 12 5 egg s hell Dromaius sp. unburnt
2 13 6 scute Trachy dosaurus sp. unburnt
121
Appendix 6. Box Gully Faunal Remains, Surface
Number Diagnostic - element Animal, family, genus or species Taphonomic comment
1594 egg shel l emu unburnt
1598 long bone fragment cf. bi rd cal ci ned
1598 cal caneum fragment s mall mammal, 1-2kg diges ted, unburnt
1598 radius medium mammal, 2-3kg cal ci ned
1598 long bone fragment medium mammal, 2-3kg unburnt, appears fresh
1599 long bone fragment smal l mammal, 1-2k g c alcined
1602 long bone fragmentx2 small mammal, 1-2kg burnt
1603 long bone fragment unknown unburnt
1604 long bone fragment unknown unburnt
1605 long bone fragment smal l mammal , 1kg or les s unburnt
1606 long bone fragmentx3 small mammal, 1-2kg burnt
1606 long bone fragment smal l mammal, 1-2k g unburnt
1607 long bone fragment smal l mammal, 1-2k g burnt
1608 long bone fragment smal l mammal , 1-2k g unburnt, sc oring on s urface
1610 vertebrat e fragment small animal , 1-2kg calcined
1611 scut e? reptile, c f. Trac hydosus sp. cal ci ned
1612 long bone fragment mammal, <3kg calc ined, notc hed margin, flaked upper surface
1615 cranial fragment? reptile, cf. Trachy dosus sp.? cal ci ned
1616 long bone fragment small bird? calcined
1617 long bone fragment mammal, <3kg cal ci ned
1618 long bone fragment mammal, <5kg cal ci ned
1619 long bone fragment mammal, <5kg calci ned?
1620 long bone fratgment mammal, <5kg c alc ined?
1621 fragment mammal, <5kg c alc ined?
1622 prox imal metapodi al fragment mammal,< 5kg cf. Mac ropus s p. burnt
1623 dis tal metapodial s mall mammal, 1kg or less burnt
1624 long bone fragment smal l mammal, 1-2k g burnt
1625 perioti c fragment macropus sp. ,<5kg unburnt
1625 vertebrat e fragment unidentifiable unburnt
1626 ? ? cal ci ned
1627 c alcaneum Bet tongi a sp. c arbonate c oated
1628 mol are fragment cf. hare wal laby burnt?
1628 toot h fragment mammal burnt?
1629 long bone fragment smal l mammal, 1-2k g burnt
*1630 right mandible fragment , molars onl y Bettongi a sp. unburnt, molars extremely worn
1631 sc ute cf. Trac hydos us sp unburnt
1632 long bone fragment small mammal, < 3kg burnt
1633 long bone fragment cf. bird? burnt
1634 molar fragment mammal , c f. Macropus sp. unburnt , di gest ed?
1635 long bone fragmentx2 small mammal, <2k g burnt
1636 femoral shaft fragment mammal, <5k g, cf. Macropus s p. burnt, notched ends, sc ored upper s urf.
1637 vertebrat e fragment reptile? calc ined
1638 long bone fragment small mammal, < 3kg calci ned
1639 non diagnost ic ? cal ci ned
*1640 t ibia proximal fragment mammal, <3k g burnt, large depression on upper s urface
1641 non diagnost ic unk nown unburnt
1642 long bone fragment mammal, <5kg unburnt, not ch end
1643 vertebrae fragment unknown burnt
1644 peri otic fragment , cranium Mac ropodid, <Bet tongia sp. burnt
*1645 tars al Macropodid,<Bett ongia s p. calcined, depression at dist al margin, c rushing
1647 t arsal fragments Macropodid,< 5kg
1647 mandibl e fragment Macropodi d burnt
1648 long bone fragmentsx2 s mall mammal, <3kg burnt
1649 long bone fragmentsx2 small mammal, 1-2kg unburnt
1649 tars al? mammal unburnt
1650 c alc aneum Bet tongi a sp. burnt
1651 dist . femoral ephysis , fus ed with shaft frag. Bettongia sp. carbonate coated
1652 egg shel l emu burnt
1654 egg shel l cf. emu burnt
1655 egg shel l cf. emu burnt
122
Number Diagnostic - element Animal, family, genus or species Taphonomic comment
1656 long bon e shaft mammal, <5k g unburnt
1657 egg shell emu burnt
1658 egg shell emu burnt
1660 long bone fragm ent m amm al, <3kg burnt
1662 proximal ulna mam mal, cf. rabbit unburnt
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
The rise of cemeteries, extreme biological diversification, size decrease, increased violence, disappearance of megafauna, exploitation of different resources, evolution of rivers to an expanded system of microenvironments, changes in occupation. How are these features of Australian Aboriginal societies in the great river-systems of the southeast related? From evidence of geomorphology, skeletal biology and other aspects of the archaeological record, a sharp disjunction between two different and relatively stable states is seen: a transforming transition rather than a gradual change.
Article
Full-text available
Grinding-stones as a technology are seen as a key element in the artefactual transformations of the latest Pleistocene - both for themselves and the foods which were ground on them. In Australia, as in other regions, their age and status is also material to what (if any) kind of a broad-spectrum revolution in foraging accompanied them.
Thesis
This thesis analyses an extensive bone deposit from Allen's Cave, which is situated on the southern Nullarbor, South Australia. Excavation of the site in 1989 yielded evidence for 38,000 years of human occupation, the first 25,000 years of which took place under extremely arid conditions. A taphonomic analysis of the bone debris was undertaken in order to identify patterns of Aboriginal arid zone subsistence and occupation. The bone debris consists of skeletal material from a range of small to large prey. The smaller species are both better represented and preserved than larger species. Primary deposition by owls and carnivores and significant modification of human-deposited bone is clearly demonstrated. Previous vertebrate analyses which have aimed at identifying humandeposited bone from such mixed and. fragmented deposits were found to display on-going methodological problems. These problems were largely based on misunderstandings about the behavior of predators associated with the cave sites. Therefore a comprehensive review of the taphonomic effects of a range of carnivores in human occupation sites has been undertaken. Revision of earlier methodologies also revealed that expectations concerning the capacity of the highly fragmented and diminished amount of human discard to provide evidence of subsistence and occupation were overstated. Thus a taphonomic methodology focussing on the far greater quantity of non-cultural bone debris has been formulated for Allen's Cave. It is anticipated that this will also be applicable to similar deposits in sites elsewhere.
Article
New Guinea II Cave is a limestone shelter and cave complex on the Snowy River in Eastern Victoria. Human occupation has been intermittent for more than 20,000 radiocarbon years leaving behind a small but constant amount of lithic material and bone artefacts. Vertebrate faunal remains are abundant but mostly of non-cultural origin. The character of the assemblage has similarities to Cloggs Cave in Buchan and together with Birrigai in the ACT they form a general signature for human use of the southeastern uplands during the Pleistocene. The signature shows non-intensive use of caves and shelters and local faunal resources. In comparison, southwestern Tasmanian Pleistocene sites appear to have a different signature of cave occupation and the primacy of a single vertebrate resource.