Increasing populations in Central Australia after 1,500 cal BP led to the development of more closely spaced foraging territories, with a consequent shift towards more intensive exploitation of bush foods. We suggest that such pressure would also lead to concomitant shifts in the use of peripheral areas within individual foraging estates. A small archaeological excavation at NEP23, on Watarrka Plateau in Central Australia, provides a glimpse of this dynamic. Use of this site began around 1,350 cal BP. Given this site’s marginal location, initiation of occupation at NEP23 reflects pressure to extend the exploitation of foraging territory otherwise centred on major springs and rock holes along the base of the Watarrka Plateau.
- Central Australia
- Last millennium