Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Timeline of Shell Middens of Sahul (Greater Australia) (Cane, 2001)
  1. 40,000    Buang Merabak, New Ireland. Papua New Guinea.
  2. 36,000    Willandra Lakes, western New South Wales. (Possibly 40,000).
  3. 35,000    Lene Hare Cave, East Timor.
  4. 34,000    Mandu Mandu Creek, central Western Australia.
  5. 36,000    Lower Darling River System, western New South Wales. (Possibly 40,000).
  6. 28,000    Kilu, Buka Island, Solomon Islands.
  7. 27,220    Noala Cave, Montebello Islands, off the central coast, Western Australia.
  8. 26,000    Karadoc Swamp, Murray River, southern Australia.
  9. 26,000    Merbein Common, Murray River, southern Australia.
  10. 26,000    Monak, Murray River, southern Australia.
  11. 24,000    Koolan Shelter II, West Kimberley.
  12. 22,000    Box Gully site, Lake Tyrrell, western Victoria.
  13. 20,000    Matenkupkum, New Ireland. Papua New Guinea.
  14. 20,000    Matenbek, New Ireland. Papua New Guinea.
  15. 17,750    Liang Lemdubu, Aru Islands.
  16. 16,249    GRE8 Rockshelter, Gulf Country, northwest Queensland.
  17. 14,000    Lachitu Shelter, northern coast of Papua New Guinea.
  18. 13,130    Liang Nabulei Lisa, Aru Islands
  19. 13,000    OLH, Gulf Country, northwest Queensland.
  20. 12,000    Bridgewater South Cave, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia.
  21. 10,490    Yardie Well Rockshelter, Cape Range, central coast of Western Australia.
  22.   9,990    Pilgonaman Creek Rockshelter, Cape Range, central coast of Western Australia.
  23.   8,700    Cape Marten, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia.
  24.   8,700    Beeton Shelter, Badger Island, off the northwest coast of Tasmania.
  25.   8,700    Carlton Bluff, southwestern Tasmania.
  26.   8,520    Wadjuru Rockpool, central coast of Western Australia.
  27.   8,490    Noble's Rock, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia.
  28.   8,250    Bevilaqua Cliffs, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia.
  29.   8,240    Hayne's Cave, Montebello Islands, off the central coast, Western Australia.
  30.   8,230    Sutton's Rocks, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia.
  31.   8,150    Nara Inlet 1, Hook Island, central Queensland.
  32.   8,120    Rocky Cape South, Rocky Cape, northwest coast of Tasmania.
  33.   8,000    Widgingarri shelters 1 & 2, west Kimberley, Western Australia.
  34.   7,960    East Monbong, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia.
  35.   7,810    Warroora. central coast of Western Australia.
  36.   7,320    Cape du Couedic, Kangaroo Island, South Australia.
  37.   7,210    Mulanda Bluff, central coast of Western Australia.
  38.   7,150    Palana Beach, Flinders Island, off the northwest coast of Tasmania.
  39.                Devil's Lair, southwestern Australia, Pleistocene levels.
  40.   7,000    Currarong Shelters, south coast New South Wales.
  41.   7,000    Nawamoyn, Arnhem Land.
  42.   7,000    Skew Valley Middens, Burrup Peninsula, central coast of Western Australia.
  43.   6,640    Cave Bay Cave, off the northwest coast of Tasmania.
  44.   6,640    Silver Dollar Midden, central coast of Western Australia.
  45.   6,270    Coral Bay, central coast of Western Australia.
  46.   6,000    Malangangerr, Arnhem Land
  47.   6,000    Malakunanja II, Arnhem Land.
  48.   5,660    Tulki Well, central coast of Western Australia.
  49.   5,540    Rocky Cape North, Rocky Cape, northwest coast of Tasmania.
  50.   5,300    Point Hibbs, southwestern coast of Tasmania.
  51.   5,000    Flinders Island Middens, off the northwest coast of Tasmania.

 

  1. Buang Merabak, New Ireland. Papua New Guinea. 40,090 +/- 570 BP, (ANUA-15809), 39,090 +/- 550 BP (NUA-15808), 33,270 +/- 560 BP (ANUA-16.302), 32,440 +/- 570 BP (ANUA-16303). (Allen et al., 1989a; Gosden, 1993; Beaton, 1995; Leavesley et al., 2002).
  2. Willandra Lakes, western New South Wales. Willandra Lakes System, from 36,000 BP, and possibly from 40,000 BP. (Balme & Hope, 1990; Hope, 1993; Johnston, 1993; Balme, 1995; Allen, 1998; Gillespie, 1998).
  3. Lene Hare Cave, East Timor. The species represented throughout this shell midden are mostly of species found on a rocky platform. Between 34,850 +/- 630 BP, (ANU-11418) and 31,110 +/- 320 BP (ANU-11398). (O'Connor et al, 2002).
  4. Mandu Mandu Creek, central Western Australia. Between 25,000 to 22,000 BP there is some evidence of marine exploitation, becoming well established after 5,500 BP. Dates have been obtained on marine shells, 34,200 +/- 1,050 BP (Wk 1513), 30,000 +/- 850 BP (Wk 1576), 25,200 /- 250 BP (SUA-2354), 22,100 +/- 500 BP (Wk 1575), 20,040 +/- 440 BP (SAU-2614), 5,490 +/- 80 BP (Wk 1511). (Morse, 1988, 1993a, b; cf. Beaton, 1995).
  5. Lower Darling River System, western New South Wales. (Possibly 40,000). 27,000 BP (possibly 35,000 BP) to 5,000 BP. ((Balme & Hope, 1990; Hope, 1993; Johnston, 1993; Balme, 1995; Allen, 1998; Gillespie, 1998).
  6. Kilu, Buka Island, Solomon Islands. Shell midden dated from 28,000-20,140 +/- 300 BP (Beta 26149), 23,200 +/- 290 BP (Beta-26150), 28740 +/- 280 BP (ANU-5990). (Wickler & Spriggs, 1988;Wickler, 2001).
  7. Noala Cave, Montebello Islands, off the central coast, Western Australia. A valve of a Polymesoda coxans shell has been dated to 27,220 +/- 640 BP (Wk 2905). At the time, prior to the inundation of the shelf by the rising sea, was about 8 km from the coast. There is evidence from the late Pleistocene and Early Holocene of marine exploitation, 8,730 +/- 80 BP (Wk-2912). (Veth, 1993, 1995).
  8. Karadoc Swamp, Murray River, southern Australia. 26,000-20,000 BP. (Richards et al., 2007).
  9. Merbein Common, Murray River, southern Australia. 26,000-20,000 BP. (Richards et al., 2007).
  10. Monak, Murray River, southern Australia. 26,000-20,000 BP. (Richards et al., 2007).
  11. Koolan Shelter II, West Kimberley. Some evidence of marine shellfish at 24,000 BP. From 10,850 +/- 160 BP (Wk-1099) marine exploitation was well established. O'Connor, 1999).
  12. Box Gully site, Lake Tyrrell, western Victoria. Some freshwatrer mussel shells have been dated to 22,015 +/- 125 BP (Wk-166). (Richards et al., 2007).
  13. Matenkupkum, New Ireland. Papua New Guinea. Shell midden from 33,000-21,000 BP. Marine exploitation became more intense from 10,000 BP. 33,300 +/- 950 BP (shell degraded)(ANU-5070), 32,700 +/- 1,550 BP (shell not degraded)(ANU-5070), 32,500 +/- 800 BP (ANU-5065), 31,350 +/- 550 BP (ANU-5469), 21,280 +/- 280 BP (ANU-5953), 10,890 +/- 90 BP (ANU-5467). (Allen et al., 1989a; Gosden, 1993; Beaton, 1995; Leavesley et al., 2002).
  14. Matenbek, New Ireland. Papua New Guinea. Shell midden from 20,000-19,000 BP, 18,560 +/- 360 BP (Beta-29009), 19,540 +/- (Beta-29008), 29,430 +/- 180 BP (Beta-29007). (Allen et al., 1989a; Gosden, 1993; Beaton, 1995; Leavesley et al., 2002).
  15. Liang Lemdubu, Aru Islands. Some marine/estuarine midden material dated to 17,750 +/- 450 BP (OZC776). celoina coxans, Terebralia sp., Nerita sp., Elliobium sp. were found in late Pleisticene levels. Evidence of focused exploitation is found from the late Holocene. (O'Connor, 2006a,b).
  16. GRE8 Rockshelter, Gulf Country, northwest Queensland. Shell middens containing Alathyria cf. pertexta, a freshwater species, dating to 16,249 +/- 120 BP (Wk-12229), 38,360 +/- 340 BP (Beta-18431), 37,110 +/- 2,945 BP (Wk-11429). (Slack et al., 2004).
  17. Lachitu Shelter, northern coast of Papua New Guinea. Shell midden from 14,000-12,000 BP. 12,300 +/- 110 BP (ANU-7699), 13,570 +/- 200 BP (ANU-7700), 13,940 +/- 160 BP (ANU-7603). (Gorecki et al., 1991).
  18. Liang Nabulei Lisa, Aru Islands. Some marine/estuarine midden material dated to 13,130 +/- 80 BP (OZF518). (O'Connor et al., 2006a,b).
  19. OLH, Gulf Country, northwest Queensland. 12,886 +/- 83 BP (Wk-1222), 13,061 +/- 81 BP (Wk-12226), 13,092 +/- 85 BP (Wk-11430). (Slack et al., 2004).
  20. Bridgewater South Cave, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia. There is evidence of sporsdic marine exploitation from about 12,000 BP. 11,390 +/- 310 BP (Beta-3923). (Lourandos, 1983; Frankel, 1986; Godfrey, 1989).
  21. Yardie Well Rockshelter, Cape Range, central coast of Western Australia. Early shell remains and middens dated to 10,490 +/- 100 BP (R11879/2), 7,290 +/- 110 BP (Wk 1477). (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  22. Pilgonaman Creek Rockshelter, Cape Range, central coast of Western Australia. Marine shell dated to 9,990 +/- 270 BP (Wk 1520), 10,150 +/- 66 BP (R16098/2), 17,410 +/- 66 BP (R11879/1), 31,770 +/- 390 BP (R16098/1). (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  23. Cape Marten, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia. Middens dated to 8,700 +/- 120 BP (NZ 69). (Lourandos, 1983; Frankel, 1986; Godfrey, 1989).
  24. Beeton Shelter, Badger Island, off the northwest coast of Tasmania. Middens dated to 8,70 +/- 125 BP (ANU-8752), possibly to 21,890 BP. (Flood, 1995; Porch & Allen, 1995).
  25. Carlton Bluff, southwestern Tasmania. A midden dated to 8,700 +/- 200 BP. (Porch & Allen, 1995).
  26. Wadjuru Rockpool, central coast of Western Australia. From 8,520 BP. (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  27. Noble's Rock, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia. 8,490 +/- 70 BP (Wk-1262), 8,390 +/- 80 BP (Wk-605), 8,340 +/- 110 BP (Wk-410). (Lourandos, 1983; Frankel, 1986; Godfrey, 1989).
  28. Bevilaqua Cliffs, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia. 8,250 +/- 60 BP (GaK 397). Bevilaqua Cliffs, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia.
  29. Hayne's Cave, Montebello Islands, off the central coast, Western Australia. During the Early Holocene was found of marine and terrestrial exploitation between 8,240 +/- 90 BP (Wk-2911) and 7,460 +/- 70 BP (Wk-2914). At the time, the sea is believed to have been about 4 km from the sites on Monet Bello, apparently being abandoned about 7,500 BP, probably as a result of rising sea levels. (Veth, 1993, 1995).
  30. Sutton's Rocks, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia. Midden dating to 8,230 +/- 60 BP (Wk-1263). (Lourandos, 1983; Frankel, 1986; Godfrey, 1989).
  31. Nara Inlet 1, Hook Island, central Queensland. There is evidence of marine exploitation from at least 8,150 +/- 80 BP (Beta 27835), becoming more intensive after about 3,000 BP, between 3,990 +/- 60 BP (Beta 31742) and 2,090 +/- 50 BP (Beta 28,188). (Barker, 1989, 1991; cf Beaton, 1995).
  32. Rocky Cape South, Rocky Cape, northwest coast of Tasmania. A midden dating to between 8,120 +/- 165 BP (GXO-266) to 3,700 BP. (White & O'Connell, 1982; Bowdler, 1984; Flood, 1995).
  33. Widgingarri shelters 1 & 2, west Kimberley, Western Australia. A marine shell has been dated to 7,780 +/- 390 BP (Wk-1101). After 4,660 +/- 60 BP (Wk-1398). (O'Connor, 1999).
  34. East Monbong, Discovery Bay Area, southwestern South Australia. 7,960 +/- 90 BP (Wk-1105). (Lourandos, 1983; Frankel, 1986; Godfrey, 1989).
  35. Warroora Midden. central coast of Western Australia. Gastropod shells, a number of other molluscs, crabs, sea urchins and fish, 7,360 +/- 115 BP (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  36. Cape du Couedic, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Shellfish of mostly rocky shore species, limpets & periwinkles, 7,320 +/- 100 BP (Draper, 1987).
  37. Mulanda Bluff Midden, central coast of Western Australia.  7,210 BP. (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  38. Palana Beach Midden, Flinders Island, off the northwest coast of Tasmania. The earliest shell midden dated to 7,150 +/- 135 BP (SUA-641). (Orchiston & Glenie, 1978; Porch & Allen 1995).
  39. Devil's Lair, southwestern Australia, Pleistocene levels. Isolated shells of estuarine bivalves and shells marine species have been recovered from Pleistocene levels. The site was about 10-30 km from the sea at the time. (Dortch et al., 1984).
  40. Currarong Shelters, south coast New South Wales. There is evidence of marine exploitation by 5,540 +/- 90 BP (SUA-224), possibly as early as 7,000 BP. (Lampert, 1971; White & O'Connell, 1982).
  41. Nawamoyn Midden, Arnhem Land. Estuarine and marine shells beginning 7,110 +/- 130 BP (Schrire, 1982, cf. Beaton, 1985).
  42. Skew Valley Middens, Burrup Peninsula, central coast of Western Australia. 7,000-2,200 BP. (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  43. Cave Bay Cave, off the northwest coast of Tasmania. Midden deposits begin at 6,640 +/- 100 BP (ANU-1797), 3,960 +/- 110 BP (ANU-1614). A later shell middens dated to 2,580 +/- 70 BP (ANU-1362) continuing in use until 990 +/- 90 BP (ANU-1616). (Bowdler, 1984).
  44. Silver Dollar Midden, central coast of Western Australia. Fish and marine shellfish, mostly Terebralia sp., 6,640 +/- 260 BP (ANU-7457), 6,950 +/- 70 BP (ANU-7456), 7,290 +/- 140 BP (Wk 2436), 7,360 +/- 190 BP (Wk 2435). (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  45. Coral Bay Midden, central coast of Western Australia. 6,270 BP. (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  46. Malangangerr, Arnhem Land. Shells of estuarine and marine shell species, from 5,980 +/- 140 BP (GaK-627) to 370 +/- 80 BP (GaK-626). (Schrire, 1982; cf, Beaton, 1985).
  47. Malakunanja II, Arnhem Land. Estuarine shell species from 6,360 +/- 100 BP (SUA-264). (Jones & Negerevich, 1985).
  48. Tulki Well Midden, central coast of Western Australia. Nearly all turban shell (Turbo sp.), 5,660 +/- 115 BP (AR-1245). (Kendrick & Morse, 1982,1983; Bowdler, 1990a,1999; Lorblanchet, 1982; Bradshaw, 1995).
  49. Rocky Cape North, Rocky Cape, northwest coast of Tasmania. This midden was used from 5,425 +/- 135 BP (V-89) to at least 450 BP. (White & O'Connell, 1982;Bowdler, 1984; Flood, 1995).
  50. Point Hibbs Midden, southwestern coast of Tasmania. 5,300 BP. (Porch & Allen, 1995).
  51. Flinders Island Middens, off the northwest coast of Tasmania. 5 shell middens frpm 7,000 BP to 5,000 BP. (Porch & Allen, 1995).

Sources & Further reading

  1. Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing
  2. Phillip J. Habgood & Natilie R. Franklin, The revolution that didn't arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul, Journal of Human Evolution, 55, 2008

 

Author: M. H. Monroe
Email: admin@austhrutime.com
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email: admin@austhrutime.com     Sources & Further reading