Hunter-gatherers in Australia: deep histories of continuity and change

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Authors: Davidson, I.
Editors: Cummings, V.; Jordan, P.; Zvelebil, M.
Year of Publication: 2014
Book Title: The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers
Pagination: 368-404
Publisher: Oxford University Press
City: Oxford
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 9780199551224

This article addresses the question of what is the central narrative of the archaeological past in Australia and its adjacent islands. The articlesummarises genetic evidence that there may have been separate populations moving into the northern and southern parts of Sahul, and the linguistic evidence that there were several major language groups at the time of contact with Europeans. The diversity of languages was mirrored by diversity in material culture, ritual, and social organization. The article argues that the archaeological record is the best evidence of how this diversity emerged. It presents the evidence for initial colonization and movement within the continent. It discusses some of the evidence of the impact of humans on the environment and how people responded to the changing resource availability. Finally it summarises some of the key changes in symbolic communication as represented by the rock art and their implications.


24 June 2014