"Life in a corridor": An archaeological investigation of the Diamantina channel country - a western Queensland corridor

Simmons, Anthony (2007). "Life in a corridor": An archaeological investigation of the Diamantina channel country - a western Queensland corridor PhD Thesis, School of Social Science, University of Queensland.

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Author Simmons, Anthony
Thesis Title "Life in a corridor": An archaeological investigation of the Diamantina channel country - a western Queensland corridor
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Supervisor Dr Anne Ross
Total pages 223
Language eng
Subjects 2101 Archaeology
Formatted abstract
In models put forward to explain Aboriginal occupation of the Australian arid zone, the Diamantina River is characterised as a corridor, linking refuge areas - occupied for much of the arid period - to barriers that prevented occupation. The Diamantina River is part of a larger arid zone river catchment that flows into Lake Eyre. The catchment is an extensive but isolated area with much potential to increase our understanding of how inland river systems may have influenced and characterised arid zone colonisation, and particularly the role of rivers as corridors. The focus of the study is Diamantina National Park (DNP) and this thesis is the first substantial archaeological research on this park and the Diamantina River. One of the key aims of this thesis is to establish a regional perspective on the archaeological record and to investigate whether current behavioural models for colonisation of the arid zone are appropriate for this corridor.

Initial surveys of key environments across DNP determined that the archaeological record was mostly restricted to open sites influenced by key environmental setting. A detailed and systematic survey to identify this patterning in the archaeological record was conducted via a series of continuously sampling transects that examined a cross-section of the key land zones found across DNP. The survey stage was complimented by an excavation programme that focused on nine hearths from five open site locations across DNP.

The results of the survey show that while archaeological evidence is found in most land zones there is a clear preference for certain land zones over others, particularly dunefields associated with riverine environments. The hearth excavations confirmed a late Holocene age for the surface archaeological record (c.800 BP). Further the environmental detail of the Diamantina catchment offers a microcosm of land zones that loosely fit the biogeographic concepts of refuge, corridor and barrier. These concepts provide a satisfactory framework to describe and predict the archaeological record and are the basis for a residential mobility model that explains the distribution of people across DNP in the recent past.
Keyword Archaeology -- Queensland -- Channel Country
Aboriginal Australians -- Antiquities -- Queensland -- Channel Country
Archaeology -- Queensland -- Channel Country
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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 16:26:40 EST