Implications for culture contact history from a glass artefact on a Diingwulung earth mound in Weipa
AbstractThis paper reports on a glass artefact found on an earth mound at Diingwulung in Wathayn Country, near Weipa, far north Queensland. Despite intense research efforts and cultural heritage management surveys over many years, and the fact that they have been reported commonly within the ethnographic literature, such artefacts have been found rarely outside of Aboriginal mission contexts. As well as describing the artefact, its location and the frontier contact complex of the area, this paper includes the background of knapped glass artefacts in Australia, archaeological and ethnographic descriptions of Indigenous glass use in far north Queensland and the methodology of glass artefact analysis. Although it is only a single artefact, we argue that this glass piece has much to reveal not only regarding its chronology, use, and the function of the site where it was found, but also about culture contact, persistence of traditional technology, connections to Country and the continuity and extent of post-contact Indigenous occupation of the area.
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