By reviewing the theories of Paul S. Martin, Timothy Flannery, Judith Field and the literature surrounding the Global Overkill hypothesis, also known as the Blitzkrieg theory, this thesis critically examines the archaeological evidence for the role of human agency in Australian Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions. Drawing on the archaeological evidence for animals known to have been hunted based on unequivocal ethnographic and historical evidence, I explore the arguments for and against human agency as the sole cause of megafaunal extinctions. I argue that only by reviewing the archaeological signatures of the hunting of known human prey is it possible to use the physical evidence from Australian megafauna kill sites to examine human agency in the Pleistocene extinctions.
By comparing the archaeological signatures for hunted dugong, kangaroo and bison against the archaeological evidence from two megafaunal kill sites, Cuddie Springs and Lancefield Swamp, I demonstrate the advantage of a multifaceted approach to megafaunal extinctions. By building a 'body of evidence' based on a critical comparison between the archaeological signatures of hunting and megafaunal kill sites, it is clear that the archaeological record in Australia does not support the Blitzkrieg theory as proposed by Martin (1967) and Flannery (Roberts et al., 2001).