Saltwater country, Saltwater people: Geomorphological, Anthropological and Archaeological investigations of coastal lands in the Gulf Country of Queensland

R. Robins, E. Stock, David Trigger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper describes the results of an exploratory geomorphological, anthropological and archaeological research project carried out in coastal lands of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria between 1982 and 1988. This is an area for which there is limited information about Aboriginal use of the landscape. The paper describes the pattern of coastal land formation and reports on preliminary investigations relating to chenier development. Anthropological data depict key features of historic Ganggalida traditional Aboriginal land use and occupation. The traditional system of land tenure is described and key sites are identified to enable comparisons to be made with the archaeological record. The distinctiveness of the coastal area in a regional Aboriginal perspective is established. The characteristics of the archaeological evidence are described for twelve selected areas, and comparisons with the historic record and contemporary Aboriginal knowledge are made. The archaeological evidence includes shell scatters, mounded shell middens, wells and fishtraps. Dates obtained from three sites range from 1,300BP to 140BP. Geoarchaeological data provide a chronological framework for the understanding of indigenous land use over a period of 2,000 years, and point to similarities with archaeological evidence on Cape York Peninsula and other areas in northern Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-125
Number of pages51
JournalMemoirs of the Queensland Museum: Cultural Heritage Series
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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