Abstract

Early models of backed artefact use in Australia proposed that they were typically barbs or tips on spears or ceremonial/ritual objects. More recent models suggested their use as domestic tools, although often with the implication that backed artefacts had a single, dominant use. This paper presents the results of an integrated residue and use-wear analysis of a sample of backed artefacts from Lapstone Creek rock-shelter, an Aboriginal occupation site on the eastern escarpment of the Blue Mountains, New South Wales. The site, also known as Emu Cave, was excavated in 1936 by C.C. Towle, F.D. McCarthy and others, and the artefacts are currently housed in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Microscopic analysis of the backed artefacts revealed a range of craft and subsistence activities occurring at the site during the late Holocene. Evidence for the use of backed artefacts for bone-working and wood-working, as well as non-woody plant processing and possibly butchery was identified, with many artefacts also exhibiting evidence for hafting. Ochre, both red and yellow, was a recurrent residue, and animal hair was also observed. Backed artefacts were used as awls, knives, scrapers and incisors for the various tasks, indicating that they were multi-functional tools. This research makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of backed artefact use and provides insight into activities undertaken during a period of dramatic cultural and environmental change in the late Holocene.

 
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Bibliographic Data

Short Form
Robertson, 2011. Tech. Rep. Aust. Mus., Online 23(7): 83–101
Author
Gail Robertson
Year
2011
Title
Changing Perspectives in Australian Archaeology, part VII. Aboriginal use of backed artefacts at Lapstone Creek rock-shelter, New South Wales: an integrated residue and use-wear analysis
Serial Title
Technical Reports of the Australian Museum, Online
Volume
23
Issue
7
Start Page
83
End Page
101
DOI
10.3853/j.1835-4211.23.2011.1572
Language
English
Date Published
18 June 2011
Cover Date
18 June 2011
ISSN
1835-4211
Publisher
The Australian Museum
Place Published
Sydney, Australia
Subjects
ABORIGINES: AUSTRALIAN; ARCHAEOLOGY; CULTURE: INDIGENOUS
Digitized
18 June 2011
Available Online
18 June 2011
Reference Number
1572
EndNote
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