Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Australian Pleistocene Technology                                                                                        

The Australian Aboriginal People had a varied tool kit during the Pleistocene, utilising stone, bone and wood. Pebble choppers, steep-edged scrapers, other types of scrapers, such as notched scrapers, and the bipolar technique was used to produce many small flakes and artefacts from quartz. A common use for these tools was the manufacture of other tools, such as making spears and implements for the processing of food.

Accumulating evidence is showing that there was an Australoid technological tradition, basically similar, whatever the raw material used, but with many local variations, across all of the Australian continent, that is distinguishable from the stone tool industries of Africa, Asia and Europe. The Australian Pleistocene tools have been called heterogeneous by some, homogeneous by others, and still others (Flood, 2004) see them as much more homogeneous than they were in the following Holocene, but with a number of regional variations on the theme of the old Australian core tool and scraper tradition. It seems the tool kit brought to Australia by the first immigrants may have been derived from elsewhere, but the Australian core tools and scraper probably evolved after their arrival, not by improvements being made by new tools being brought in at a later date.

At the time of first contact, the tool kit of the Aboriginal People was mostly comprised of artefacts made from materials other than stone, such as wood, bone, shell and plant material. Human hair was also used to make items such as twine. The direct evidence of the use of non-stone materials is mostly lost, these other materials don't survive well if they are not in constantly wet or dry conditions, such as dunes or peat bogs. Such conditions exist at Wyrie Swamp in South Australia.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Flood, Josephine, 2004, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, JB Publications.
Author: M. H. Monroe
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