A multidisciplinary investigation of a rock coating at Ngaut Ngaut (Devon Downs), South Australia

Roberts, Amy, Campbell, Isobelle, Pring, Allan, Bell, Graham, Watchman, Alan, Popelka-Filcoff, Rachel S., Lenehan, Claire E., Gibson, Christopher T. and Franklin, Natalie (2015) A multidisciplinary investigation of a rock coating at Ngaut Ngaut (Devon Downs), South Australia. Australian Archaeology, 80 80: 32-39.

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Author Roberts, Amy
Campbell, Isobelle
Pring, Allan
Bell, Graham
Watchman, Alan
Popelka-Filcoff, Rachel S.
Lenehan, Claire E.
Gibson, Christopher T.
Franklin, Natalie
Title A multidisciplinary investigation of a rock coating at Ngaut Ngaut (Devon Downs), South Australia
Journal name Australian Archaeology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0312-2417
Publication date 2015-06
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 80
Issue 80
Start page 32
End page 39
Total pages 8
Place of publication Crawley, W.A., Australia
Publisher Australian Archaeological Association
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract This paper presents the results of a multidisciplinary investigation into a dark rock coating at the Ngaut Ngaut heritage complex in South Australia (SA) using geological and botanical examination, Raman microscopy, x-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and infrared analyses. The coating analysed contains a mixture of calcite, quartz, gypsum and weddellite. The presence of calcite and quartz can be explained by the underlying clastic fossiliferous limestone, while the most probable explanation for the origin of the gypsum is via ground water. The weddellite was likely formed from solutions derived from the reaction of calcite with oxalic acid through the intervention of surface microflora, such as algae. This article provides the first record of weddellite in any context in SA. These findings have a number of implications-one being that the oxalate mineral in the rock coating could potentially be used to conduct accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon analysis and thereby refine our understanding of the rock art chronology at Ngaut Ngaut. A greater understanding of the rates of accumulation may also be useful for management purposes, as the nature of the rock coating may be contributing to long-term exfoliation. Indeed, it is argued that algal colonisation of the limestone (together with other probable microfloral activities) is likely involved in the production of a film over the porous surface, leading to salt weathering.
Keyword Calcium oxalate
Whewellite
Spectroscopy
Minerals
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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