Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Koolan Shelter 2

On a small offshore island, dates from at least 27,300 BP. The age of the first occupation of the site has been estimated to be about 30,000 BP. At this time there was relatively high sea level, which meant the sea would have been close to the shelter. The site shows a heavy dependence on seafood. Among them the mangrove clam shell Geloina coaxans, were very common at this site. There were also pearl shell (Pincruda sp.) that occurred in late Pleistocene levels. A Geloina shell from here has been dated to at least 26,500 +/- 1050. The site was 20 km from the coast. The presence of these shells is considered as evidence of long distance exchange or transport during the late Pleistocene (O'Connor, 1999).

Koolan Shelter 2 was abandoned by about 24,600 BP, probably as a result of increasing aridity, as the sea level dropped and the coast retreated about 220 km. The island became a peak in an inland range in the arid west Kimberley. People re-occupied the shelter about 10,400 BP, when the sea had returned, making the peak an island once more. The inhabitants seem  to have followed the shore line as it moved towards the mainland and retreated again.  

Sources & Further reading

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
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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