The effect of retouch intensity on mid to late Holocene unifacial and bifacial points from the Kimberley

Tim Ryan Maloney, Sue O’Connor, Jane Balme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Stone points have provided key data for studies of hunter gatherer lifeways in several parts of the world. Point technologies occur widely across northern Australia, appearing around the mid-Holocene and persisting into the European Contact period. These points exhibit high-morphological variation, and include bifacial, unifacial and other forms. In the Northern Territory and north Queensland, points have been shown to form part of a reduction continuum. However, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, similar reconstructions of artefact life history have not been conducted. Using a recently excavated assemblage with a large sample of retouched unifacial and bifacial points (n = 137), we examine the effect of retouch intensity on changing point morphology. Quantification of point reduction reveals a complex artefact life history having compelling parallels with point assemblages from other parts of northern Australia. Drivers for the inception of point technology in northern Australia are likely to be multiple, including environmental change, population change and social signalling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-55
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Archaeology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2017


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