Deep Time Project – REFLECTION I

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This work is conducted in memory and respectfully honours the First Australian People,
the Aboriginal People of this land.

During 2018 several Work Integrated Learning (WIL) students and volunteers have worked on The Deep Time Project, 3D scanning and photographing artefacts, as well as collating information to better understand this significant Aboriginal archive.

The following are some observations for the AHMS archaeological report:-

  • The vast majority of the artefact’s recovered (i.e., 5,221) are local tuff which is a rock created from volcanic ash – it was sourced locally from coastal beach side rock faces around Nobby’s and Merewether.
  • There are some other types of rock including chert, quartzite and silcrete which would have been sourced from locations around Lake Macquarie and western Newcastle – Jewells, Fennel Bay and Beresfield – as well as Tomago.
  • There is evidence of the use of fire to heat treat the rocks to help in the manufacture of flakes. This is a strategy identified in the 1980’s in the Hunter Valley and is referred to as the RedBank A strategy. It was first thought to appear around 1300 yrs BP. This dig found evidence at around 3,500 yrs BP.
  • There were a total of 152 tools recovered in this dig and I think that they should be the priority for the scanning / photography and display as these were created and used by the occupants of the site.
  • Most of the 39 cores recovered show evidence that they were well used and discarded.

The various depths in the dig demonstrate the timeline of use of the site as an occupation site over such a long period of time and were handled by the occupants of the site in the creation of their tools.

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In relation to grinding stones the report doesn’t speculate on what the grind stones were used for – they could have been for food preparation – or for ochre given the large amount of ochre found at various depths in the dig. And often there was a special relationship that grinding stones might have with a person or family – e.g. inherited, special significance to country or totem. Grinding stones were often left at a site for use when returning, rather than being transported from occupation site to site.

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Table 6 on pg 84 of the AHMS report gives a clear list of the complete and broken tools found – and table 7 on pg 85 shows the stratification of where in time (depth in the dig) the tools and the cores were found.  The tools and the cores may have the most cultural significance as they were the items handled/ made/ used by the Aboriginal people who occupied this site over the many thousands of years.

Some artefacts are now able to be viewed in 3D at Livinghistories@uon

We sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to the project and especially to Leigh Budden for his insights and dedication in recording the artefacts.


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