Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Upper Swan River site

An open-air campsite on an an ancient floodplain along the upper Swan River. It has been dated to 38,000 BP. Among the artefacts found at this site were flakes made from a distinctive chert containing fossils. The same chert has been found in a number of other Western Australian sites with ages in excess of 4,600 BP, and the probable source of the chert was subsequently found in drill cores from the seabed off the coast, on the continental shelf that would have been dry land when the first people arrived in Australia. It appears to have been a toolmaking site. About 900 artefacts had been found at this site by the time of writing, mostly of deeply patinated dolerite. 75 % of these finds are stone chips less than 15 mm long. 37 tools have been found that were retouched or showed evidence of use-wear. The tools of small size were also found in the Devil's Lair deposit, also in Western Australia.

Small scrapers were included among the artefacts in this site that were manufactured from quartz and quartzite. Wear was found on the edges of pebble fragments. It is believed this was a tool-making site that has been relatively undisturbed, based on the presence of chips, cores and conjoins (stone flakes that can be fitted together). The site is now controlled by the local Aboriginal community.

Sources & Further reading

Flood, Josephine, 2004, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, JB Publications.

Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 30/09/2011
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