Occupation sites—artefact scatters Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander campsites or other occupation sites can provide important information about Threats and potential threats a range of activities. These sites are also highly significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The greatest natural threat to occupation sites is erosion. Human threats include developments such as roads, The Department of Environment and Resource tracks and other works likely to disturb material. Management (DERM) is responsible for administering the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003, which helps ensure Protecting artefact scatter sites that these sites are protected. Should a place, thought to be an artefact scatter site be found, contact the relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait What do occupation sites look like? Islander party for the area or DERM. To assist in protecting the site, supply a map of where the site can be Occupation sites can be found in the open or in rock found as well as a description of what was found. shelters and may be indicated by a scatter of stone artefacts, however not all occupation sites contain such material. The types of stone commonly used include Management actions quartz, quartzite, silcrete, and chert—all of which can be flaked to produce tools. If occupation sites are located on your property, it is important to ensure: Other material evidence from occupation sites includes bones, shells, food refuse, blackened fire stones, • the position of the occupation site/s and appropriate charcoal and baked clay (the remains from cooking protective measures be marked on operational plans. stones). The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with custodianship responsibilities for the area should be Some occupation sites have been visited numerous notified prior to the commencement of any operations times, with each successive occupation producing layers near the site or strata of material evidence. These sites can be many metres deep—surface evidence gives little indication of • locations of previously unrecorded occupation sites be their long history. Thousands of artefacts may be buried forwarded to the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander beneath the surface. people with custodianship responsibilities Charcoal and bone from each layer can be radiocarbon- • all field staff and contractors be trained in the dated from which the chronological sequence of identification of occupation sites occupation can be re-created. • land-use activities that are likely to cause surface disturbance be assessed against the cultural heritage Where are occupation sites found? duty-of-care guidelines. Occupation sites exist in all parts of the landscape, Further information varying from sparse (and unstratified) campsites with only one or two artefacts, to ones occupied over long For further information on occupation sites, visit the periods of time, with layers of deposits comprising DERM website <www.derm.qld.gov.au> or contact: thousands of artefacts. Cultural Heritage Coordination Unit Scatters of artefacts are generally found near stone Department of Environment and Resource Management outcrops, in areas favoured for occupation GPO Box 2454 (watercourses, resource-rich areas, higher ground), in Brisbane QLD 4001 natural erosion zones (including in the nodes of multiple Telephone: (07) 3239 3647 erosion zones) and in ‘transit’ zones between resource- Fax: (07) 3238 3842 rich areas. April 2010 Sites favoured for occupation because of access to CH 10 water, other resources or features, were often also chosen by Europeans as settlement areas.
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