First Nations pre‐LGM ochre processing in Parramatta, NSW, Australia

Owen, Timothy, Munt, Simon, Player, Sam, Toms, Phillip ORCID: 0000-0003-2149-046X and Wood, Jamie ORCID: 0000-0003-0923-5511 (2024) First Nations pre‐LGM ochre processing in Parramatta, NSW, Australia. Archaeology in Oceania, 59 (1). pp. 125-137. doi:10.1002/arco.5313

13781 Owen, Munt, Player, Toms, Wood (2024) First Nations pre-LGM ochre processing in Parramatta, NSW, Australia.pdf - Published Version
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Previous archaeological evidence and published analysis has suggested that ochre was first used in the Sydney Basin around 9000 years ago, and that the Parramatta region may not have been occupied by First Nations peoples before ∼14 ka. We present new evidence which firmly places both events before the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Multiple ochre fragments, two with microscopically visible evidence of anthropogenic grinding, were recovered from the George Street Gatehouse site within the Parramatta Sand Body (PSB) at Parramatta. The ground ochre was associated with a pit feature buried within the PSB and dated by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) between ∼35 and 30 ka. This find is the earliest evidence for ochre processing in the Sydney Basin by some 25000 years. A previous model for the region had proposed that occupation prior to and during the LGM was focussed on the Hawkesbury-Nepean River corridor as a refugium, with only equivocal evidence of occupation prior to ∼14 ka at Parramatta (Williams et al., 2021). We propose that the Parramatta River could also have acted as a refugium for people moving through and occupying the now-drowned Pleistocene coastal zone; and that those people used ochre in their symbolic expressions.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ground ochre; Use wear; Pre-LGM; Aboriginal archaeology; Parramatta Sand Body
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anna Kerr
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2024 11:36
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2024 11:00

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