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Common cores in the high country. The archaeology and environmental history of the Namadgi Ranges

ThedenRingl, Fenja ThedenRingl, Fenja

2018

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  • Título:
    Common cores in the high country. The archaeology and environmental history of the Namadgi Ranges
  • Autor: ThedenRingl, Fenja
  • ThedenRingl, Fenja
  • Assuntos: Aboriginal Archaeology ; Aboriginal Archeology ; Holocene and Pleistocene Australia
  • Descrição: This thesis provides an update to the Aboriginal and environmental histories of the ‘high country’ in southeastern Australia from the terminal Pleistocene to the recent past. Its focus is the Namadgi Ranges, representing the northern-most outliers of the Australian Alps. The study combines archaeological excavations of rock shelter sites – from Wee Jasper in the north to the southern Namadgi valleys – with environmental reconstructions from adjacent peatlands. In a context of changing local environments, the findings provide new perspectives on when and how Aboriginal people were active in the mountains, and allow for a re-evaluation of existing archaeological models of occupation and technological change. AMS radiocarbon dates, sediment geochemistry, quantitative stone artefact analyses and other proxies contribute to solidifying the chronology and characteristics of high country habitation. Evidence of terminal Pleistocene activities is found at Wee Jasper in the Namadgi foothills, but remains elusive at higher elevations (> 1000 m). The revised datasets also reveal a previously unidentified period of low-intensity habitation across the ranges from the early to mid Holocene period (8000 to 5000 BP), possibly in response to a Holocene ‘climatic optimum’. The new evidence suggests that people may have largely abandoned the high country from 5000 or 4500 BP. From 2000 BP, however, evidence of habitation reappears, culminating in evidence for a maximum of occupation during the past 1000 years. In combination with an evaluation of known archaeological data from the high country and around its margins, the findings presented herein contradict several existing occupational and technological models, and also caution against the application of broad-scale cultural models across southeastern Australia. A regional environmental history is constructed by analyses of sediments that started to build up 16,000 years ago as the climate warmed. Fire event reconstruction based on charcoal, stratigraphic clues in peat sediments, geochemical signatures of landscape productivity and instability, and a faunal record from Wee Jasper provide a detailed record of change. Comparison of the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental datasets reveals a potential link in these two records, in the form of a tentatively identified signal of anthropogenic burning during the early to mid Holocene. More generally, the environmental history provides a backdrop of changing climates and landscape processes to which Aboriginal people adapted and responded over thousands of years.
  • Data de publicação: 2018
  • Idioma: Inglês

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