Vegetation history from archaeological charcoals in central Australia: The late Quaternary record from Puritjarra rock shelter

M. A. Smith, Lins Vellen, Johanna Pask

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Archaeological charcoals from Puritjarra rock shelter provide the first direct information about the vegetation of central Australia during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. During the late Pleistocene there appears to have been a more open vegetation than today with fewer trees and shrubs, though with many of the taxa that are important in the modern central Australian flora. The persistence of species such as Acacia macdonnelliensis, Callitris glaucophylla and Eucalyptus opaca throughout the time of the last glacial maximum and the presence of appreciable quantities of wood charcoal in the archaeological deposits at this time indicate that the region was not a tree-less steppe even during full glacial aridity. From 13,000 B.P. onwards, acacias are strongly represented in the charcoal assemblage both quantitatively and in terms of the number of species present. Acacia aneura is for the first time a major component of the assemblage indicating that it had by this time become a significant element of the local vegetation. These changes coincide with evidence elsewhere in the Australian arid zone for the onset of wetter conditions in the early Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-177
Number of pages7
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1995
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Archaeological charcoals
  • Australian arid zone
  • Central Australia
  • Late Quaternary
  • Vegetation history

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Vegetation history from archaeological charcoals in central Australia: The late Quaternary record from Puritjarra rock shelter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this