Preliminary archaeological survey and remote-sensing of shell mounds at Kwokkunum, Albatross Bay, Cape York Peninsula, Australia

Joshua Emmitt, Kasey Allely, Benjamin Davies, Eloise Hoffman, Simon J. Holdaway


Shell mounds are a prominent part of the Cape York Peninsula archaeological record. A short period of fieldwork allowed initial assessment of their presence, size, and shape in the Kwokkunum region, Albatross Bay. Shell mounds found in this area vary in size with some examples amongst the largest found in the Cape York Peninsula. Comparison of terrestrial and airborne LiDAR data suggests that shell mounds in areas like Kwokkunum may be identified remotely where mound slopes exceed 5–10°. However, vegetation provides significant challenges for shell mound recording and vegetation on the mounds impacts on their form and preservation. Some of the challenges the largest mounds pose for investigation are reviewed.

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