Developing a relative dating system for the Moreton Region: an assessment of prospects for a technological approach


  • Peter Hiscock Department of Anthropology & Sociology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072



The imperative of dating sites rests uneasily upon the shoulders of Australian archaeologists. Despite the growing array of sophisticated physical and chemical techniques for estimating the age of objects, the most common archaeological site-type in Australia, the stone artefact surface scatter, remains generally difficult to date with any precision. During the 1960's and 1970's researchers focused their attention on stratified sites which could be dated by the conventional radiocarbon process, and thereby established a chronological framework for their studies. More recently a shift in interests, particularly towards the testing of demographic and settlement models, has made it inappropriate to restrict investigations to the small proportion of sites which are stratified. In this context there is an urgent need to develop some means to date artefact scatters. This paper assesses the prospects for constructing a system of dating artefacts in the Moreton Region by inferring the way in which they were made.