Diet, mobility and subsistence-settlement systems in the late Holocene Lower Murray River Basin of South Australia: Testing models of Aboriginal seasonal mobility and sedentism with isotopic and archaeological data

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    Abstract

    Bone collagen stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data for archaeological human remains suggest that the territorial behaviours reported in relation to Tindale’s ethnographic research for the lower stretches of the Murray River of South Australia in the vicinity of the river mouth and adjacent coastal regions can be extended back through the late Holocene. Testing hypotheses regarding the presence of late Holocene semi-sedentary and sedentary subsistence-settlement systems along various regions of the Lower Murray and adjacent coast requires comprehensive archaeological research, including improved chronometric dating for a range of archaeological sites, demonstration of the use of a range of key plant and animal foods, and expansion of stable isotope applications to include strontium and oxygen. This paper provides an overview of the natural environment of the Lower Murray River region of South Australia, including the availability of water and a range of food resources. The importance of foods available in the vicinity of the riverine zone that could have provided reliable dietary sources is emphasised. Such ecological data regarding the abundance and availability of key plant and animal foods are fundamental to improved understandings of hunter-gatherer behavioural variability in the region.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-171
    Number of pages49
    JournalJournal of the Anthropological Society of South Australia
    Volume41
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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