Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Bone Artefacts-Tasmania                                                                                                        

Bone points have been found in most Tasmanian caves in the southwest, and in Cave Bay Cave. There has been some discussion about what these bone points were used for. One suggestion has been that they were used in the making of fur coats, as awls or reamers. In southeastern parts of the mainland, Aboriginal People have been seen using them to make holes in animal skins to sew them together with thread made from animal sinew. Study of bone points from Pleistocene sites in Tasmania, such as Warreen Cave and Bone Cave, indicates they may have been used for skin processing, cloak toggles, as well as marrow extraction and possibly as spear points. Use-wear evidence suggests the use of some bone points for skin scraping and making holes in dry skins.

An unexpected find was that they appear to have been used as spear points for hunting mammals, which suggests they were hafted to a spear. 2 fine points have been found with what appear to be signs of hafting marks on the bases. The type of tip damage seen on some points and use-wear evidence suggest they were used as spear points. At some sites points and spear shafts have been found and interpreted as being places where bone points were being hafted to repair spears. If this is the correct interpretation, it is the first evidence of a hafted tool in Tasmania from any time of the Aboriginal occupation of Tasmania.

Sources & Further reading

Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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