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Usewear and phytoliths on bedrock grinding patches, Pilbara, north-western Australia

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • Bedrock grinding patches were recorded in the Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (FMG) Rail

    Corridor within the Wooodstock/Abydos Aboriginal Heritage Area 130 km south of Port Hedland,

    Western Australia. WA State Ministerial conditions required the salvage of representative samples,

    residue analysis and other detailed microscopic study to investigate the technology and function of

    these grinding patches. Following a pilot study and experimental work, we undertook microscopic study

    of 159 samples – including PVS (PolyVinyl Siloxane™) peels and water extractions – from 81 grinding

    patches, collected at six sites. The worn stone surfaces are microscopically similar to traces found on

    experimental and Aboriginal stone artefacts used for grinding seeds, although the development of wear

    patterns is variable. The most common residues were phytoliths, which indicate that grinding patches

    were utilised for grinding grasses of the Panicoid and Chloridoid sub-families, although the open nature

    of the sites means issues of taphonomy need to be considered. Spinifex phytoliths suggest seeds from

    this plant may also have been exploited. No traces of pigment or ochre were found. We suggest that

    the grinding patches are linked with food processing associated ceremonial gatherings and rock art.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Fullagar, R. & Wallis, L. A. (2012). Usewear and phytoliths on bedrock grinding patches, Pilbara, north-western Australia. Artefact: Pacific rim archaeology, 35 75-87.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3702&context=smhpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/2681

Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 75

End Page


  • 87

Volume


  • 35

Place Of Publication


  • http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=363222325341958;res=IELHSS

Abstract


  • Bedrock grinding patches were recorded in the Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (FMG) Rail

    Corridor within the Wooodstock/Abydos Aboriginal Heritage Area 130 km south of Port Hedland,

    Western Australia. WA State Ministerial conditions required the salvage of representative samples,

    residue analysis and other detailed microscopic study to investigate the technology and function of

    these grinding patches. Following a pilot study and experimental work, we undertook microscopic study

    of 159 samples – including PVS (PolyVinyl Siloxane™) peels and water extractions – from 81 grinding

    patches, collected at six sites. The worn stone surfaces are microscopically similar to traces found on

    experimental and Aboriginal stone artefacts used for grinding seeds, although the development of wear

    patterns is variable. The most common residues were phytoliths, which indicate that grinding patches

    were utilised for grinding grasses of the Panicoid and Chloridoid sub-families, although the open nature

    of the sites means issues of taphonomy need to be considered. Spinifex phytoliths suggest seeds from

    this plant may also have been exploited. No traces of pigment or ochre were found. We suggest that

    the grinding patches are linked with food processing associated ceremonial gatherings and rock art.

Publication Date


  • 2012

Citation


  • Fullagar, R. & Wallis, L. A. (2012). Usewear and phytoliths on bedrock grinding patches, Pilbara, north-western Australia. Artefact: Pacific rim archaeology, 35 75-87.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3702&context=smhpapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/smhpapers/2681

Number Of Pages


  • 12

Start Page


  • 75

End Page


  • 87

Volume


  • 35

Place Of Publication


  • http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=363222325341958;res=IELHSS