Technological change at Platypus Rockshelter (KB:A70), southeast Queensland
Platypus Rockshelter yielded a rich and varied assemblage of stone artefacts. In this paper we describe temporal change in the artefact assemblage and, by implication, prehistoric technology, concentrating particularly on the evidence for chert stoneworking. Readers are referred to accompanying papers by Hall et al (1988) and Hall and Hiscock (1988) in this volume of QAR for details of the stratigraphy and dating of the site. What is important to reiterate here is that the deposit provides a discontinuous sequence of occupation dating back to approximately 5300 years BP. This, plus the fact the radiocarbon samples were selected to date stratigraphic transition, means that the artefactual sequence is divided into a number of sharply-bounded analytical units, and change can be identified between but not within these units. The necessity for the cultural sequence to be subdivided in this way makes it likely that gradual changes in prehistory will be seen as episodic, and that each unit may be a compilation of a number of discrete occupation events (cf. Frankel 1988). Thus, while we employ strata as minimal units of comparison in the artefactual analysis, we make no assumptions about the uniformity within, and rate of change between, those units. The purpose of the paper is to characterize the long-term changes in the technology of the inhabitants of the site.
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