West side story: towards a prehistory of the Cape Range Peninsula, Western Australia

Katheryn Morse

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated] North West Cape is the most north westerly point of the Australian
continent. It forms the tip of the narrow Cape Range Peninsula, a
finger of land which stretches out into the Indian Ocean on the
western extremity of the Australian arid zone. Cape Range, a
rugged limestone range, forms the backbone of the peninsula. Its
western coast is bordered by Ningaloo reef, and, at a distance of
only 10 km, is the nearest point on the Australian continent to the
edge of the continental shelf.
This unique topographic configuration provides a rare opportunity
to investigate archaeological sites that once related to Pleistocene
shorelines. Even during the height of the arid conditions of the last
glacial period, when sea level was as much as 150 m lower than
present, rockshelters in the western foothills of Cape Range would
never have been more than 10-12 k m from the coast. In addition,
and perhaps most importantly, the limestone environment of Cape
Range has the potential to preserve organic material such as shell
and bone, the archaeological evidence of human adaptation to
Pleistocene coastal environments.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Western Australia
Publication statusUnpublished - 1993

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