Journal article

Human-environment interactions in Australian drylands: exploratory time-series analysis of archaeological records

MA Smith, AN Williams, CSM Turney, ML Cupper

HOLOCENE | SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD | Published : 2008

Abstract

Exploratory time-series analysis of radiocarbon data from archaeological contexts is used to reconstruct the population history of arid Australia, allowing this to be read in concert with records of climatic variability over the last 20 000 years. Probability distribution plots of 971 radiocarbon ages from 286 sites in five dryland regions (the arid west coast, Pilbara and Murchison, Nullarbor, arid interior and the southeastern arid zone) provide a proxy record of prehistoric population fluctuations in these areas. There is regional variation, but the radiocarbon density plots suggest a step-wise pattern of population growth and expansion, with significant thresholds at 19, 8 and 1.5 cal. k..

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University of Melbourne Researchers