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Title: Beyond the Limits of Location: Human environmental disturbance prior to official European contact in early colonial Australia
Contributor(s): Gale, SJ (author); Haworth, Robert John (author)
Publication Date: 2002
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Abstract: The expansion of European occupation across Australia was closely circumscribed during the first half century of the colony's existence. Despite this, there is considerable evidence of unsanctioned movements beyond the officially prescribed boundaries. Given their illegal nature, information on such movements is unlikely to be preserved in the documentary record. Other sources of information may, however, yield evidence of these activities. Perhaps the most useful of these is that preserved in sediments laid down at the time of initial colonisation. This study exploits this data source, focusing on the depositional record from the New England Tablelands of northern New South Wales. Well-dated sedimentary sequences yield evidence of enhanced rates of soil erosion and disturbance to lake sediment chemistry perhaps decades before the accepted date of European arrival on the Tablelands in the 1830s. This disturbance is unlikely to have been a consequence of natural processes. It may instead have been the result of Aboriginal activities, although it is more likely to indicate the presence of either Europeans or the shadow of European culture in New England well before the official date of settlement. The sediments may therefore throw light on the timing and processes of European colonisation of the continent, and reveal indications of early contact environmental disturbance, of particular significance given the long-term response of the Australian biophysical environment to human impacts.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Archaeology in Oceania, 37(3), p. 123-136
Publisher: Oceania Publications
Place of Publication: Sydney
ISSN: 0003-8121
Field of Research (FOR): 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Other Links:;dn=200302842;res=APAFT
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