Prehistoric mining at Olympic Dam in arid South Australia

Marjorie Sullivan, Philip Hughes, Amy Way, Nigel Spooner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    A site in the Olympic Dam area, recorded during archaeological surveying as a silcrete quarry, was investigated. Hand-excavated squares and subsequent machine-excavated trenches revealed an ancient "mine" rather than a simple surface quarry. Blocks of high-quality silcrete were levered from below the ground surface and many were knapped in the immediate area. Rubble in the pit backfills included large numbers of flakes. Single-grain optical dates from sediments in the backfilled pits demonstrate that the silcrete "mining" occurred during a short period in the late Holocene.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-55
    Number of pages13
    JournalArchaeology in Oceania
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


    • Holocene
    • Optical dating
    • Prehistoric mining
    • Silcrete


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