Flaked stone assemblage variability across the Weipa region of western Cape York Peninsula, Queensland

Justin Shiner, Simon Holdaway, Patricia Fanning


Shell mounds located on the coastal and estuarine fringes are the best-known archaeological feature in the Weipa region, northwestern Cape York Peninsula, Australia. Other archaeological deposits have received less attention, with stone artefacts thought to be all but absent reflecting the lack of raw material suitable for flaking in the region. Cultural heritage surveys on the bauxite plateau in the Weipa region undertaken since 2003 have changed this view. Here we report on stone artefacts manufactured from quartz, quartzite, silcrete, and mudstone. Surprisingly, flakes and cores in assemblages from across the surveyed region retain a relatively large proportion of cortex, indicating limited lithic reduction despite the lack of local raw material. Comparisons made with assemblage characteristics from other regions in Australia indicate that this lack of core reduction may reflect use of the Albatross Bay landscape by people who were confident of being able to access the lithic sources outside the region to replenish their tool kits.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/qar.21.2018.3636

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ISSN 1839-339X (online) ISSN 0814-3021 (print)