Old boundaries and new horizons: the Weipa shell mounds reconsidered
Morrison, Michael (2003) Old boundaries and new horizons: the Weipa shell mounds reconsidered. Archaeology in Oceania, 38 (1). pp. 1-8.
|PDF (Published Version) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader|
View at Publisher Website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/publications/o...
This paper develops an alternative interpretation of shell mound phenomena at Albatross Bay, near Weipa on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula. Past researchers have interpreted these distinct mounded middens as functional edifices, constructed to enable small family groups to camp closer to resources during the late wet season. Here I propose that the mounds at Weipa were associated with relatively large groups of people intensively exploiting the shellfish Anadara granosa. This argument is based on a range of factors, including the biological characteristics of Anadara, a species that makes up over 90% of the composition of shell mounds, as well as archaeological and ethnographic evidence.
The shell mounds of the Albatross Bay region, near Weipa on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, have been the subject of archaeological research for almost 30 years. Past interpretations of these phenomena have been subject to little criticism from archaeologists, and so this paper reviews the dominant arguments for mound formation and use. Based on a review of archaeological and ethnographic data, as well as the biological characteristics of Anadara granosa, a dominant shellfish species found in mounds, it is proposed that the mounds were the result of irregularly held social gatherings. There is strong ethnographic evidence to suggest that pre-contact Aboriginal populations on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula commonly held such gatherings, and that these gatherings made use of particularly abundant resources. In this paper it is proposed that Anadara granosa may have been well suited to exploitation in this manner, given that it is occasionally available in specific locations in extremely large quantities.
|Item Type:||Article (Refereed Research - C1)|
No current JCU email address available.
|Keywords:||archaeology; middens; Queensland; shell mounds; Weipa|
|FoR Codes:||21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210199 Archaeology not elsewhere classified @ 100%|
|SEO Codes:||95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%|
|Deposited On:||30 Nov 2010 14:19|
|Last Modified:||12 Feb 2011 03:59|
Last 12 Months: 0
|Citation Counts with External Providers:|
Repository Staff Only: item control page