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The Bass Strait Islands revisited

Bowdler, Sandra

Quaternary International, 22 October 2015, Vol.385, pp.206-218 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    The Bass Strait Islands revisited
  • Autor: Bowdler, Sandra
  • Assuntos: Tasmania ; Bass Strait ; Tasmanian Aborigines ; Archaeology ; Colonial History ; Pleistocene Archeology
  • É parte de: Quaternary International, 22 October 2015, Vol.385, pp.206-218
  • Descrição: Bass Strait divides mainland Australia from Tasmania (Fig. 1). During much of the Pleistocene, lowered sea levels meant there was a land bridge joining these land masses. It is now generally accepted that the formation of the Strait by post-glacial sea rise effectively separated the human populations of Tasmania from those of mainland Australia, leading to one of the most extreme cases of isolation known on the global scale. The Tasmanian Aborigines were separated for some 12,000 years from their nearest neighbours in Southeast Australia. None of the larger islands of Bass Strait appears to have been occupied at the time of European contact, and the archaeological record sees this lack of occupation stretching back centuries, and millennia in some cases. Some 35 years ago, Rhys Jones (1977) presented a complex model relating to the past human occupation of the Bass Strait Islands. Using biogeographical concepts and principles he concluded that there were critical points of size and distance that led to the abandonment of these islands, with the exception of the Hunter group in northwest Tasmania. Archaeological research carried out since 1977 does not militate against the broad strokes of this model – there is still no evidence for more recent contact between Australia and Tasmania, or for any recent occupation of most of the abandoned islands. There is however scope for a more nuanced consideration of their occupation and abandonment, in the light of more recent research which this paper will attempt. In general, archaeologists have not considered in this framework the latest phase of Aboriginal occupation in the Bass Strait Islands; there has been an ongoing Aboriginal population since the early 19th century, continuing many of the traditions of Tasmanian Aboriginal society. This paper attempts a continuous narrative from archaeology and history of the Tasmanian Aborigines and the Bass Strait Islands.
  • Idioma: Inglês

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