The archaeology, chronology and stratigraphy of Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II): A site in northern Australia with early occupation

Clarkson, Chris, Smith, Mike, Marwick, Ben, Fullagar, Richard, Wallis, Lynley, A., Faulkner, Patrick, Manne, Tiina, Hayes, Elspeth, Roberts, Richard, G., Jacobs, Zenobia, Carah, Xavier, Lowe, Kelsey M., Matthews, Jacqueline and Florin, S. Anna (2015) The archaeology, chronology and stratigraphy of Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II): A site in northern Australia with early occupation. Journal of Human Evolution, 83 46-64. doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.03.014

Author Clarkson, Chris
Smith, Mike
Marwick, Ben
Fullagar, Richard
Wallis, Lynley, A.
Faulkner, Patrick
Manne, Tiina
Hayes, Elspeth
Roberts, Richard, G.
Jacobs, Zenobia
Carah, Xavier
Lowe, Kelsey M.
Matthews, Jacqueline
Florin, S. Anna
Title The archaeology, chronology and stratigraphy of Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II): A site in northern Australia with early occupation
Journal name Journal of Human Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0047-2484
Publication date 2015-06
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jhevol.2015.03.014
Open Access Status
Volume 83
Start page 46
End page 64
Total pages 19
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract Published ages of >50 ka for occupation at Madjedbebe (Malakunanja II) in Australia's north have kept the site prominent in discussions about the colonisation of Sahul. The site also contains one of the largest stone artefact assemblages in Sahul for this early period. However, the stone artefacts and other important archaeological components of the site have never been described in detail, leading to persistent doubts about its stratigraphic integrity. We report on our analysis of the stone artefacts and faunal and other materials recovered during the 1989 excavations, as well as the stratigraphy and depositional history recorded by the original excavators. We demonstrate that the technology and raw materials of the early assemblage are distinctive from those in the overlying layers. Silcrete and quartzite artefacts are common in the early assemblage, which also includes edge-ground axe fragments and ground haematite. The lower flaked stone assemblage is distinctive, comprising a mix of long convergent flakes, some radial flakes with faceted platforms, and many small thin silcrete flakes that we interpret as thinning flakes. Residue and use-wear analysis indicate occasional grinding of haematite and woodworking, as well as frequent abrading of platform edges on thinning flakes. We conclude that previous claims of extensive displacement of artefacts and post-depositional disturbance may have been overstated. The stone artefacts and stratigraphic details support previous claims for human occupation 50–60 ka and show that human occupation during this time differed from later periods. We discuss the implications of these new data for understanding the first human colonisation of Sahul.
Keyword Australia
Lithic technology
Stone Axes
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Sun, 31 May 2015, 16:09:35 EST by Tiina Manne on behalf of School of Social Science