Dating Of Bush Turkey Rockshelter 3 in the Calvert Ranges establishes Early Holocene Occupation of the Little Sandy Desert, Western Australia


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March 2016


Systematic excavation of occupied rockshelters that occur in ranges along the Canning Stock Route of the Western Desert has seen the establishment of both a Pleistocene signal (c.24ka BP) as well as the fleshing out of a Holocene sequence. Recent dating of a perched rockshelter in the Calvert Ranges, east of the Durba Hills, has provided a Holocene record filling in previous occupational gaps from the Calvert Ranges. The extrapolated basal date of the site is in the order of 12,000 BP. Assemblages from this site illustrate repeated occupation through the Holocene with a notable shift in raw materials procured for artefact production and their technology of manufacture in the last 1000 years. Engraved and pigment art is thought to span the length of occupation of the shelter. The site illustrates a significant increase in the discard of cultural materials during the last 800 years, a trend observed at other desert sites. Much of the pigment art in this shelter seems likely to date to this most recent period.


Western Desert, Calvert Ranges, Holocene

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Australian Archaeology, Vol. 66, no. 1 (2016-03-16).