How do we distinguish termite stone lines from artefact horizons? A challenge for geoarchaeology in tropical Australia

M. A. Smith, Ingrid Ward, Ian Moffat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Can we distinguish stone lines created by termite bioturbation from genuine artefact horizons? This is a challenge for field archaeology and geoarchaeology in northern Australia, where termites are abundant. We review published data to (a) present a model of the evolution of stone lines and (b) develop guidelines for recognizing these bioturbation products in archaeological contexts. In case studies, we examine Madjedbebe and Nauwalabila, two sites in northern Australia. The early occupation levels at these sites are pivotal to ideas about initial human occupation of the Australian landmass but there are claims these are unrecognized stone lines. Our assessment is that neither Madjedbebe nor Nauwalabila contain termite stone lines, although both sites may have complex geomorphic and taphonomic histories.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeoarchaeology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2019

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termite
artifact
bioturbation
occupation
archaeology
present
history
stone
Tropical
Geoarchaeology
Artifact
Northern Australia
Bioturbation

Cite this

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How do we distinguish termite stone lines from artefact horizons? A challenge for geoarchaeology in tropical Australia. / Smith, M. A.; Ward, Ingrid; Moffat, Ian.

In: Geoarchaeology, 03.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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