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Measured on Stone: Stone Artefact Reduction, Residential Mobility, and Aboriginal Land Use in Arid Central Australia

Wallace Boone Law


This monograph explores the many ways in which stone artefact reduction can be measured and used to discern prehistoric changes in artefact technology and land use from two sites in arid Australia. Several empirical techniques are used to investigate thenature of stone artefact reduction on spatial and chronological scales at Puli Tjulkura quarry (a white chert stone artefact quarry and primary reduction site located near Mt. Peculiar, approximately 280km west of Alice Springs, Northern Territory) and Puritjarra rockshelter (located in the Cleland Hills of the Northern Territory approximately 50km southwest of Puli Tjulkura), two important Central Australian archaeological sites that both geochemical and ethnographic studies reveal are interrelated. From the studies, fresh insights are given upon the changing the settlement and subsistence strategies employed by early populations. It is concluded that the middle and late Holocene reduction trends recorded at Puritjarra are associated with a provisioningstrategy and land use system characteristic of an increasingly mobile population.