Timeline of Ground-edge
& Waisted Hatchets of Sahul (Greater Australia)
- 40,000 Huon Peninsula: Bobongarra, Papua New
Sandy Creek 1, southeast Cape York,
Widgingarri 1 & 2, the Kimberley,
- 26,000 Kospie, Papua New Guinea.
- 25,000 Nombe, Papua New Guinea.
Malangangerr, Arnhem Land, Northern
Nawamoyn, Arnhem Land, Northern
- 20,000 Kuk, Papua New Guinea.
Nauwalabila 1, Arnhem Land, Northern
Miriwun, southeast Cape York,
- 12,100 Yuku, Papua New Guinea.
- 11,000 Pamwak Rock shelter, Manus Island,
- 10,790 Jimeri I, Arnhem Land, Northern
Mushroom Rock, southeast Cape
- 6,650 Jimeri II, Arnhem Land, Northern
- 5,770 Anbangbang1, Arnhem Land,
Kangaroo Island sites, South Australia.
Mackay, central Queensland.
Early Man Rockshelter, southeast Cape York
- Papua New Guinea sites. In excavations dating from possibly more
than 40,000 BP, more than 100 waisted hatchets were found
- Sandy Creek 1, southeast Cape York Sites, Queensland.
Edge-ground waisted, and grooved pink quartz hatchet was found on
bedrock that had been dated by stratigraphic methods to about 31,000
+700/-600 BP. There was also a flake with a ground surface that came
from the upper, Holocene levels.
- Widgingarri 1 & 2, the Kimberley, Western Australia. In levels
dated to 28,060 +/- 600 BP (R11795) there were flakes of volcanic
stone, that are believed may have detached from the working edge of
ground stone hatchets. Artefacts of ground stone were also found in
layers of Holocene origin.
- Kospie, Papua New Guinea. 20 ground-edge hatchets, the earliest
of which has been dated to possibly more than 26,000 BP. 26,870 +/-
590 BP 26,450 +/- 880 BP. (Bulmer, 1977; White & O'Connell, 1982;
Groube et al., 1986; Golson, 2001; Allen & O'Connell, 2004,2004).
- Nombe, Papua New Guinea. 2 waisted and stemmed hatchets dating
from possibly 25,000 BP.
- Malangangerr, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. In this deposit
there were 5 edge-ground hatchets, 1 of which was described as
waisted, in the lower sand deposits that have been dated from
between 22,900 +/- 1,000 BP (ANU-77b) and 18,400 +/- 400 BP
(ANU-19). A large flake, that it is believed may been an incomplete
edge-ground hatchet. A ground green schist "rod" was found that is
believed to possibly have been part of a larger ground tool. It was
in the lower sand deposit. A ground sandstone "rod" was found in the
lower unit of the midden that dated from 5,980 +/- 140 BP (GaK-627)
- Nawamoyn, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. From the Holocene and
Pleistocene, there were 9 ground-edge hatchets, and a rock with small
depressions ground into its surface. There were also 22 pebbles that
had evidence of being used for pounding, some the above dating to at
least 21,450 +/- 380 BP (ANU-51). Some dated to more than 7,110 +/-
130 (ANU-53). (Schrire, 1982).
- Kuk, Papua New Guinea. A waisted hatchet dating to about 20,000
- Nauwalabila 1, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. Pieces of exotic
dolerite that have the general shape indicating they were probably
hatchets or hatchet blanks, but weathering was too advanced to make
their identification certain, and to determine if they originally
had ground edges. They are believed to date from about 25,000-30,000
BP, being older than 19,975 +/- 365 BP (SUA-237). There were also
small flakes, thought to possibly from the cutting edge of
edge-ground hatchets. The oldest of these flake being found in
levels dating from between 19,975 +/- 365 (SUA 237) and 13,195 +/-
175 BP (SUA 236). (Johnson, 1985b).
- Miriwun, southeast
Cape York, Queensland. A ground-edge hatchet
was found that dated from 1,675 +/- 185 BP (SUA-142). A single flake
was found that it is believed may have come from the cutting edge of
a ground stone hatchet dated to between 17,980 +1,370/-1,170 BP
(ANU-1008). (Dortch, 1977).
- Yuku, Papua New Guinea sites. About 18 waisted hatchets in the
upper levels, and 2 in earlier levels that are believed could be
more than 12,100 +/- 350 (GX-3212B).
- Pamwak Rock shelter, Manus Island, Admiralty Islands. In this
deposit were found 5 edge-ground stone hatchets/adzes, 16
edge-ground Tridacna shell artefacts. Dates ranged
from 12,400 +/- 80 BP (ANU-6980) to 11,730 +/- 280 BP (ANU-7124).
- Jimeri I, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. 2 small edge-ground
hatchets made from porphyritic dolerite that dated to 3,820 +/- 100
BP (ANU-52) and up to possibly 10,790 +/- 100 BP (GaK-632).
- Mushroom Rock, southeast Cape York, Queensland. The base of the
deposits, well below a dated later of 6,870 +/- 150 BP, believed to
possibly of late Plesitocene age, have produced fragments of
- Jimeri II, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. 11 small edge-ground
porphyritic dolerite hatchets, together with possible waist flakes
believed to have resulted from the making and/or use of stone
implements that dated from between 6.650 +/- 500 BP (ANU-18) and
4,779 +/- 150 BP (ANU-50). (Schrire, 1982).
- Anbangbang1, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. A ground hatchet
from levels earlier than 5,770 +/- 100 BP. (ANU-3206). (Jones &
- Kangaroo Island sites, South Australia. Waisted hatchets that
are believed to be of late Pleistocene to early Holocene age. (Lampert,
1981; Golson, 2001).
- Mackay, central Queensland. Waisted hatchets were found on the
surface (Groube, 1986).
- Early Man Rockshelter, southeast Cape York Pensinula,
Queensland. Flakes with grinding marks, that are believed to be from
edge-ground hatchets, possibly of terminal Pleistocene age.
Sources & Further reading
- Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B.
- Phillip J. Habgood & Natilie R. Franklin,
The revolution that
didn't arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul, Journal of Human
Evolution, 55, 2008