Radiocarbon dates from the top end: A cultural chronology for the Northern Territory coastal plains

Sally Brockwell*, Patrick Faulkner, Patricia Bourke, Anne Clarke, Christine Crassweller, Daryl Guse, Betty Meehan, Robin Sim

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The coastal plains of northern Australia are relatively recent formations that have undergone dynamic evolution through the mid to late Holocene. The development and use of these landscapes across the Northern Territory have been widely investigated by both archaeologists and geomorphologists. Over the past 15 years, a number of research and consultancy projects have focused on the archaeology of these coastal plains, from the Reynolds River in the west to the southern coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the east. More than 300 radiocarbon dates are now available and these have enabled us to provide a more detailed interpretation of the pattern of human settlement. In addition to this growing body of evidence, new palaeoclimatic data that is relevant to these northern Australian contexts is becoming available. This paper provides a synthesis of the archaeological evidence, integrates it within the available palaeo-environmental frameworks and characterises the cultural chronology of human settlement of the Northern Territory coastal plains over the past 10 000 years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)54-76
    Number of pages23
    JournalAustralian Aboriginal Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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