Directed Study: Lower Murray Archaeological Project, Stone Artifact Analysis.

As part of ARCH8508, I’m currently undergoing a lithic analysis on an assemblage excavated by Mr Chris Wilson (PhD Candidate, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University), from the Glen Lossie Midden and Burial Site (GLMBS) in the Glen Lossie Irrigation Area, located near Murray Bridge, S.A.

The Glen Lossie Irrigation Area is undergoing major irrigation infrastructure, to reclaim wetlands along the River Murray between Mannum and Wellington, as part of the Lower Murray Irrigation Area Project (LMIA). Because of its significance to Ngarrindjeri people, it was identified by the Ngarrindjeri Heritage Committee (NHC) as priority for archaeological research as a component of the Ngarrindjeri Cultural Heritage Project, funded by the Department of Environment and Water Resources (DEWR) Indigenous Heritage Project. Subsequently, this site became protected under a mutual agreement between the NHC and the landowner, which provided the opportunity to further manage the site.

Subsequently, Chris Wilson undertook five excavations at Glen Lossie Midden and Burial Site (GLMBS) in 2008, which resulted in the lithic assemblage I’m analysing. Consequently, my study is under the supervision of Chris Wilson and Alice Gorman (Lecture/Archaeologist, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University) as part of Chris Wilson’s doctoral research, which was a component of the Ngarrindjeri Cultural Heritage Project 2007/2008.

My main aims during this project are to, review previously recorded lithic counts and weights for this assemblage and others in Wilson’s research and analyse and record in detail the Glen Lossie Midden and Burial Site (GLMBS), lithic assemblage. Technical drawing will also be made were applicable. I also hope to produce a better understanding of the geological background behind the raw materials used at this site and in particular quartz, which makes up a large amount of the assemblage.

I’ve already started my preliminary checks of counts and weights and have started becoming more confident in my analysis of quartz (which can be ambiguous and not display regular diagnostic features used during analysis). So far many interesting lithic have become evident, including possible geometric microliths, which were usually made of quartz and hafted to death spears, and possible Pirri Points and Bondi Points. Likewise, I have determined from my research into old reports from the area, that chert comes predominantly from the Riverland, flint from Coorong and quartz from the Mount Lofty Ranges or Reedy Creek near Murray Bridge. Likewise, most of these quartz lithic assembles are mostly amorphous and less than 3cm.

Ultimately, this study will result in a report and presentation given to the Ngarrindjeri community and hopefully give further insight into the technological change during the Holocene in the Lower Murray area.

If anyone has any useful information, (reports, papers, recommendations etc.) on my current project I would love to hear from you.

By Shannon Smith

Graduate Diploma in Archaeology


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