The prehistory of Aboriginal landuse on the upper Flinders River, North Queensland Highlands


  • M.J. Morwood Archaeology & Palaeoanthropology, The University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351



A general theme in Australian prehistory is the development of the distinctive social, economic and technological systems observed in recent Aboriginal societies. Research has demonstrated significant change in the Australian archaeological sequence and general trends of such are shared by numerous regions. Most that have been investigated indicate low density occupation during the Pleistocene and early Holocene with significant increases in site numbers, increased artefact discard rates and dissemination of new technologies and artefact types in mid-to-late Holocene times (e.g. Lourandos 1985). On the other hand, each region has a unique prehistory, range of material evidence and research potential. Our knowledge of Holocene developments in aboriginal subsistence systems, for instance, is largely based upon the history of cycad exploitation in the central Queensland Highlands (Beaton 1982), the appearance of seed grindstones in arid and semi-arid zones (Smith 1986) and evidence for increased emphasis on small-bodied animals in N.E. New South Wales and S.E. Queensland (McBryde 1977:233; Morwood 1987:347).