The procurement and use of River Thames flint by Sydney's Aboriginal people

Tim Owen, Beth Hise (Editor), Sam Player , Michael Ingrey

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In 1788 Sydney Cove, New South Wales, was colonised by the British and construction of the first Government House commenced. Archaeological excavations at this site recovered a small assemblage of Aboriginal-worked flint. A separate excavation of an Aboriginal site called RSY1, at nearby Randwick, recovered a similar, but much larger flint assemblage. Portable X-ray fluorescence analysis tested both Sydney assemblages and a baseline flint sample set from a gravel bed from Deptford on the Thames Estuary, London and found them to be chemically identical. This paper presents the findings of the pXRF analysis, combined with lithics analysis and historical research, to contextualise the flint. We identify that Aboriginal-worked flint in early colonial sites presents evidence for the potential presence of Aboriginal people and possible interactions between the British and Traditional Owners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalAustralasian Historical Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Australian history
  • Australian archaeology
  • Australian aboriginal history
  • Indigenous Australian history
  • Sydney -- History
  • River Thames Flint
  • colonisation
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Lithic analysis
  • flint
  • pXRF analysis
  • Flint
  • Colonisation
  • PXRF analysis


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