Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Seton Site

This is in a small limestone cave on Kangaroo Island, off South Australia, near a freshwater lagoon, 8 km from the south coast. There is 1.5 m of sediment resting on bedrock. The earliest occupation at this site has been dated to 16,000 years ago, at which time the site would have been about 40 km from the sea. There are small flint scrapers. Associated with the earliest tools from this site were the bones of the giant kangaroo, Sthenurus. The site seems to have been used only occasionally until about 11,000 years ago, at which time the occupation became intensive. There is evidence of the manufacture of small flint scrapers at the site, quartz being flaked, some of which were retouched to use as scrapers. At this level were also found 2 small kangaroo shin bone points, the dull polish wear on their tips suggesting they were probably used in skin preparation.

The occupants appear to have had a widely based economy, a variety of inland prey were taken, such as grey kangaroo, which seems to have been important in their diet. By this time marine shellfish had entered their diet, the sea was then not far from the cave.

At the time of the final separation of Kangaroo Island from the mainland, when the gap widened and the water became deeper, occupation of the site ceased.

Seton industry

The tools associated with the occupation at this site differs from the typical Kartan industry in being of a smaller type of tool such as flint scrapers. It has been suggested that this industry may have simply been the missing flake part of the Kartan industry. An argument against it being part of the Kartan industry has been made based on the total lack of core tools among the 5,000 known flake tools, and a single piece of quartzite, the material used to make the Kartan tools. The difference between Seton and Kartan tools is very great, an average of 9 gm for the Seton and 900 gm for the Kartan tools.

It is believed the 2 industries are too different to be from the same industry, especially as they were not contemporary and there is little, if any, sign of continuity between the 2 cultures.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J.B. Publishing, 2004


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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading