Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/6498
Title: The pattern and timing of prehistoric settlement in Central Australia
Contributor(s): Smith, Michael Alexander (author); Morwood, Michael (supervisor); Jones, Rhys (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 1989
Copyright Date: 1988
Open Access: Yes
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/6498
Abstract: In a series of papers between 1971 and 1977 three fundamental questions for archaeological research in the arid zone were defined (Golson 1971; Mabbutt 1971; Gould 1971, 1977; Allen 1972, 1974; Bowler 1976; Bowdler 1977). These concern the timing of human dispersal and colonisation in the region, the adaptations that were necessary for this to take place and the subsequent maintenance of human groups in a marginal environment. More specifically these studies posed the following questions. Was the arid interior of the Australian landmass settled as part of an initial dispersal of humans into the continent from the Indo-Malaysian region; or did the aridity of the region pose particular problems for these early human groups? To what extent did the ability to use the new plant resources of the region, such as grass and acacia seeds, affect the timing of initial settlement; and what was the role of these resources in the ecology of subsequent settlement? Can we identify an ebb and flow of population across the region in response to the climatic pulses that periodically reactivated its fossil river systems and lakes; or was settlement of the region stable and narrowly circumscribed by the limited opportunities of a desert environment? These are basic questions about the human biogeography of the Australian arid zone. But they are of more than just regional importance as the arid zone encompasses nearly 60% of the Australian landmass.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Rights Statement: Copyright 1988 - Michael Alexander Smith
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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