Using soil magnetic properties to determine the onset of Pleistocene human settlement at Gledswood Shelter 1, Northern Australia

Lowe, Kelsey M., Shulmeister, James, Feinberg, Joshua M., Manne, Tiina, Wallis, Lynley A. and Welsh, Kevin (2016) Using soil magnetic properties to determine the onset of Pleistocene human settlement at Gledswood Shelter 1, Northern Australia. Geoarchaeology, 31 3: 211-228. doi:10.1002/gea.21544


Author Lowe, Kelsey M.
Shulmeister, James
Feinberg, Joshua M.
Manne, Tiina
Wallis, Lynley A.
Welsh, Kevin
Title Using soil magnetic properties to determine the onset of Pleistocene human settlement at Gledswood Shelter 1, Northern Australia
Journal name Geoarchaeology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1520-6548
0883-6353
Publication date 2016-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/gea.21544
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 31
Issue 3
Start page 211
End page 228
Total pages 18
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Abstract In regions that lack built structures or stratified open archaeological sites, such as precolonial Australia, rockshelters are a major source of detailed information for understanding the nature and timing of human occupation. A key concern is that the proposed ages for the earliest archaeological sites are based on luminescence dating of sediments, rather than directly of cultural materials, leaving the association between the sediments and evidence of human activity questionable. Here, we present evidence of magnetic enhancement associated with cultural horizons within the deposits of a Pleistocene rockshelter in interior northern Queensland. Soil magnetic studies combined with experimental burning show that magnetically enhanced sediments in Gledswood Shelter 1 are the result of anthropogenic burning of hearth fires, which burn hotter and for a longer time than natural wild fires. These techniques appear to work in this setting because of the nature of the local geology and the geological antiquity of the landscape. Susceptibility and frequency dependence of susceptibility signatures provide a critical tool to resolve that human occupation starts at 2.2 m depth within a stratigraphic section. In conjunction with luminescence dating, soil magnetic studies provide an opportunity for archaeologists to resolve the timing of human settlement in Australia and other intracratonic plate settings.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published May/June 2016

 
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Created: Tue, 08 Mar 2016, 12:22:59 EST by Yukie Tamura on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management