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Modelling Hunter-Gatherer Settlement Patterns

An Australian case study

Michael Pickering


The Garawa Aboriginal people of the southern inland Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Australia were, until relatively recently, hunter-gatherers. The three princAal objectives of this volume are to provide an ethnography of Garawa land-use and settlement, to develop the methodological and theoretical strategies for studying hunter-gatherer settlement patterns in a way that will yield information useful to archaeologists, and, thirdly, to identify the main variables contributing to the regional and long term structure of subsistence and settlement patterns. The core study area is centred on three contiguous river catchments (Wearyan, Foelsche, Robinson Rivers) within the Robinson River Land Trust, representing approximately 11,000 square kilometers. Garawa institutions and strategies of land tenure, land-use and site location are compared, with each other and with environmental phenomena, to identify the phenomena and processes that structured the macro-scale spatial, temporal, and demographic characteristics of Garawa settlement patterns.