Deep Time Archive – Geology

1This work is conducted in memory and respectfully honours the First Australian People,
the Aboriginal People of this land.

The following geology report was compiled in 2017 by Sebastian Meredith, and documents the geology associated with artefacts found at the former Palais site at Newcastle West in 2009 – also referred to as The Deep Time Archive.

Report is available here Deep Time Notes – Geology

The geological properties of the hundreds of artefacts examined for the Deep Time project are valuable parts of the story that Deep Time has sought to unearth. Importantly, identifying the makeup of each tool can perhaps grant them a sense of original place that cannot be easily determined from their final resting place alone. Each artefact was observed under hand lens magnification, with characteristics such as mineral composition, grain size, and fracture geometry indicating the type of rock from which it was composed. This process was completed over several weeks with contributions by Maxine Park, a fellow graduate geologist from the University of Newcastle.

Most prominent among our findings was the prevalence of Nobby’s Tuff, which aligns with our expectations of the Newcastle area once being a key centre of tool manufacturing in the region. Nobby’s Tuff is fortunately quite distinctive, bearing chemical alterations that make it similar to chert or flint – ideal for toolmaking. Other rock types are far more difficult to place geographically with any degree of certainty, but do indicate a wise use of different materials for their most suitable purposes. Unfortunately, the hypothesis that some rock types indicate trade with other Indigenous nations would likely require confirmation via thin section analysis – a procedure that would damage the artefacts and disrespect the living memory they represent.

Sebastian Meredith holds a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from UON, and his areas of interest are geology and history.

Artefacts shown below can be viewed in 3D HERE at Livinghistories@uon  Remember to click on image shown on digital platform and ‘view 3D model’ on left sidebar)


Also listen to Geological History: Interview with Roslyn Kerr, geologist, about the formation of Nobbys-Whibayganba and its special properties and the importance of silicified tuff for tool making by Aboriginal people.

Other posts associated with the Deep Time Project are available HERE. 


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