Fraser Island Archaeological Project (FIAP): Background, Aims and Preliminary Results of Excavations at Waddy Point 1 Rockshelter


  • Ian J. McNiven School of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010
  • Ian Thomas School of Anthropology, Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010
  • Ugo Zoppi Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, PMB 1, Menai, NSW 2234



Coastal southeast Queensland is one of the most intensively studied archaeological regions of Australia. While the Fraser Island World Heritage Area is the most famous landscape in this coastal region, no archaeological excavations have been undertaken and its ancient Aboriginal past remains poorly understood. The Fraser Island Archaeological Project (FIAP) redresses this situation. Excavations at Waddy Point 1 Rockshelter (WP1) in July/August 2001 reveal a focus on local resources (shellfish, fish and tool stone) in the last c.900 years. This finding is consistent with McNiven's (1999) regionalisation model which posits marine resource intensification and the development of separate residential groups occupying the dune systems of Cooloola and Fraser Island in the last 1,000 years. Further excavation will be required to define the base of the cultural deposit of WP1, which may be early Holocene given arrival of the sea off the headland c.10,000 years ago.