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Reconstructing the geomorphic history of Liang Bua, Flores, Indonesia: a stratigraphic interpretation of the occupational environment

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Liang Bua, in Flores, Indonesia, was formed as a subterranean chamber over 600 ka. From this time to the present, a series of geomorphic events influenced the structure of the cave and cave deposits, creating a complex stratigraphy. Within these deposits, nine main sedimentary units have been identified. The stratigraphic relationships between these units provide the evidence needed to reconstruct the geomorphic history of the cave. This history was dominated by water action, including slope wash processes, channel formation, pooling of water, and flowstone precipitation, which created waterfalls, cut-and-fill stratigraphy, large pools of water, and extensive flowstone cappings. The reconstructed sequence of events over the last 190 k.yr. has been summarized by a series of time slices that demonstrate the nature of the occupational environment in Liang Bua. The earliest artifacts at the site, dated to 190 ka, testify to hominin presence in the area, but the reconstructions suggest that occupation of the cave itself may not have been possible until after 100 ka. At 95 ka, channel erosion of a basal unit, which displays evidence of deposition in a pond environment, created a greater relief on the cave floor, and formed remanent areas of higher ground that later became a focus for hominin occupation from 74–61 ka by the west wall and in the center of the cave, and from 18–17 ka by the east wall. These zones have been identified according to the sloping nature of the stratigraphy and the distribution of artifacts, and their locations have implications for the archaeological interpretation of the site.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Westaway, K. E., Sutikna, T., Saptomo, W., Jatmiko, , Morwood, M. J., Roberts, R. G. & Hobbs, D. (2009). Reconstructing the geomorphic history of Liang Bua, Flores, Indonesia: a stratigraphic interpretation of the occupational environment. Journal of Human Evolution, 57 (5), 465-483.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-70449120244

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/4970

Number Of Pages


  • 18

Start Page


  • 465

End Page


  • 483

Volume


  • 57

Issue


  • 5

Place Of Publication


  • http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jhevol

Abstract


  • Liang Bua, in Flores, Indonesia, was formed as a subterranean chamber over 600 ka. From this time to the present, a series of geomorphic events influenced the structure of the cave and cave deposits, creating a complex stratigraphy. Within these deposits, nine main sedimentary units have been identified. The stratigraphic relationships between these units provide the evidence needed to reconstruct the geomorphic history of the cave. This history was dominated by water action, including slope wash processes, channel formation, pooling of water, and flowstone precipitation, which created waterfalls, cut-and-fill stratigraphy, large pools of water, and extensive flowstone cappings. The reconstructed sequence of events over the last 190 k.yr. has been summarized by a series of time slices that demonstrate the nature of the occupational environment in Liang Bua. The earliest artifacts at the site, dated to 190 ka, testify to hominin presence in the area, but the reconstructions suggest that occupation of the cave itself may not have been possible until after 100 ka. At 95 ka, channel erosion of a basal unit, which displays evidence of deposition in a pond environment, created a greater relief on the cave floor, and formed remanent areas of higher ground that later became a focus for hominin occupation from 74–61 ka by the west wall and in the center of the cave, and from 18–17 ka by the east wall. These zones have been identified according to the sloping nature of the stratigraphy and the distribution of artifacts, and their locations have implications for the archaeological interpretation of the site.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Westaway, K. E., Sutikna, T., Saptomo, W., Jatmiko, , Morwood, M. J., Roberts, R. G. & Hobbs, D. (2009). Reconstructing the geomorphic history of Liang Bua, Flores, Indonesia: a stratigraphic interpretation of the occupational environment. Journal of Human Evolution, 57 (5), 465-483.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-70449120244

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/scipapers/4970

Number Of Pages


  • 18

Start Page


  • 465

End Page


  • 483

Volume


  • 57

Issue


  • 5

Place Of Publication


  • http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jhevol