Plants and archaeology in Australia

Sally Brockwell, Janelle Stevenson, Anne Clarke

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The Aboriginal people of Australia remained hunter-gatherers until the contact period. Therefore all evidence of plant use is pre-agricultural although there are examples of eco-system manipulation. Evidence of plant use in Australia is ancient, going back over 40,000 years. Analysis of plant remains and a variety of methodologies have been used to address a range of key questions in relation to settlement of the continent from the Pleistocene until the Holocene. Results have been intrinsic to a number of well-known themes and debates in Australian archaeology. Given the size of Australia and the long period of time involved, the following synthesis is a brief overview only, and further reading can be found in the reference list. However, some of the key issues and methodologies employed have come together in one study area, Kakadu National Park, and these are presented here in some detail. We are fortunate in Australia that many Aboriginal people still retain detailed knowledge of plants and traditional uses and ethnobotany has been a significant consideration in archaeological interpretation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationWild harvest: Plants in the hominin and pre-agrarian human worlds
    EditorsKaren Hardy and Lucy Kubiak-Martens
    Place of PublicationOxford and Philadelphia
    PublisherOxbow Books
    ISBN (Print)9781785701238
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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