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Title: Evidence of Aboriginal Networking: non-destructive pXRF characterisation of ground-edge hatchets from south-east South Australia
Contributor(s): Walker, Jessie (author); Grave, Peter  (supervisor)orcid ; Attenbrow, Valerie (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2017-04-08
Copyright Date: 2016-06
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Differing patterns of distribution from source of local and exotic artefacts have been used to set up and modify theories and models of hunter-gatherer social/political networks. Stone hatchets are useful for testing these theories because they do not decay in time. In this research pXRF technology was used to compare 242 hatchets found in south-east South Australia with known local basalt sources, and with distant sources from Central Victoria and Mount Isa. Chemical analysis determined that the great majority of hatchets came from unknown sources of similar, distinctive, stone which, unlike the local basalts, were very low in most elements from Rb to Nb in the periodic table. This majority was similar, but not a match, to stone from Mt William in central Victoria. From their distribution and frequency, this majority of hatchets was probably used as tools, but because they were found across three language areas, I conclude that they were also desirable exchange items. There was no apparent separation of useful and exchange hatchets, a difference from hunter-gatherer models which may have been a result of limited local stone sources. My research also determined that three hatchets found in SESA originated in Mount Isa, extending the distance that Mount Isa hatchets are known to have moved from Lake Eyre/Flinders Ranges to south-east South Australia. One of these was distinctively shaped, matching a type of hatchet known to have originated in Mount Isa. Another three hatchets were determined to have originated near Mt Macedon in central Victoria. These six exotic hatchets were distributed evenly across the three language areas, showing no area with a concentration of power of acquisition. I concluded that the distribution of SESA hatchets from source indicates a strong network between the three language groups, Ngarrindjeri, Bindjali and Buandig prior to European settlement, a network which was highly interactive, evenly spread across Buandig land and the southern areas of their neighbours, and with no evidence of dominance by one group in any language area.
Publication Type: Thesis Masters Research
Field of Research (FoR): 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
HERDC Category Description: T1 Thesis - Masters Degree by Research
Appears in Collections:School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Masters Research

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