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Title: Niche production strategies and shell matrix site variability at Albatross Bay, Cape York Peninsula
Contributor(s): Morrison, Michael  (author)
Publication Date: 2013-07
Early Online Version: 2013-05-23
DOI: 10.1002/arco.5002
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Abstract: Albatross Bay, near Weipa on western Cape York Peninsula, is well known for the large number of anthropogenic late Holocene shell mound sites that occur in the region. Recent research on shell mound formation and use both here and elsewhere across northern Australia has focused upon the extent to which mound formation may have been tied to intensive use of periodically available gluts of the intertidal bivalve Anadara granosa. This paper explores whether such a model applies in the Albatross Bay region, drawing on data available from 477 shell matrix sites recorded in this region. Data on site size, morphology, composition, substrate type, proximity to contemporary shorelines and shell mound chronology support a model of Aboriginal people episodically and strategically targeting a highly variable niche estuarine resource base rather than intensively focusing on one species. It is proposed that these production strategies were characterised by a high degree of flexibility in terms of resource focus, at times involving a considerable emphasis on A. granosa, but also incorporating other estuarine resources, and that the level or intensity of production was able to be scaled up or down in line with resource availability and abundance. This production system was based upon nuanced knowledge of annual and intra‐annual ecosystem dynamics along with social organisation and communication networks that facilitated a high degree of flexibility around the strategic exploitation of variable estuarine resource bases.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Archaeology in Oceania, 48(2), p. 78-91
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1834-4453
Field of Research (FoR) 2008: 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
210103 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
Field of Research (FoR) 2020: 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology
450102 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts
430102 Archaeology of Asia, Africa and the Americas
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages: Y24 Thaynakwith
Y32 Alngith
Y36 Ngkoth
Y39 Ntra'ngith
Y23 Wimaranga
Y185 Awngthim
Y30 Ladamngid
Y34 Aritinngithigh
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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