Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Karlinga Rock Shelter

The Karlinga (Karl-1) rock shelter is situated at the base of a sandstone cliff, and is sheltered behind several boulders. At 27 cm depth an age of 18,400 ± 1,400 BP was found by OSL dating of sediments was obtained. As with the sediments from the Jinmium rock shelter (Roberts et al., 1999), the sands were thought to probably include ‘saturated’ quartz that was derived from slow disintegration of the overlying and surrounding bedrock  (for more details see Ward, 2003; Ward et al., 2004), which is why this estimate is not considered to represent an occupation age. This age of 18,500  BP is also inconsistent with:

1 Estimates of radiocarbon age younger than 1,000 BP obtained from charcoal samples from the same sediments,

2 with other luminescence and radiocarbon ages for excavations in rock shelters in the Keep River region,

3 and with the presence of flaked stone and Kimberley points.

The location of the Karlinga sand sheet excavation is about 500 m from the site in the Rock Shelter. At this site the sediments are not affected by contamination from the bedrock as there was no contact with the underlying rock. At 240 cm depth an age of 18 ± 6,00  BP was obtained by OSL dating, and for the surrounding sediments TL produced a similar estimate (see Ward, 2003; Ward et al, in review, which represented a minimum age for the beginning of formation of the sand sheet (Ward, 2003). Immediately above and below the 2 cobble layers the highest density of stone artefacts, which included stone points, were found dating to about 2,500 BP by OSL and 900 BP respectively.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Ward, I. (2004). "Comparative Records of Occupation in the Keep River Region of the Eastern Kimberley, Northwestern Australia." Australian Archaeology(59): 1-9.
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 23/04/2016
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