A Mound of a Time

This weekend we were fortunate enough to visit another part of the region, an area called Lueang, located across the Mission River. We travelled in two 4×4 Landcruisers to the site, which was a pretty bumpy ride across an unsealed trail. We traversed empty river and stream beds, and took detours around fallen trees. The environment was burnt and ashy, the eucalypts showing signs of burning right up into the canopy, indicating a very hot fire. The purpose of the trip was to gain a better idea of the geomorphology of the region, and to potentially locate a modern analogue for palaeoenvironment sindicated by preliminary auger holes dug at Wathayn. We visited both Bouchet and Red Beach (named after the small red bauxite pisoliths which scatter the beach), and saw Anadara shell cemented into beach rock. These have been sampled for radiocarbon dating.

A lot of shell.

Another exciting aspect of the trip was to visit some of the sites which Geoff Bailey has previously visited and excavated. As we drove down onto the extensive mudflat, we saw three huge shell mounds, much larger than those we have excavated, located right next to the river. These mounds were at least 5m high, with steep sides and a flattened top. We also saw the bush turkey mound which Bailey, Chappell and Cribb excavated in 1993. This mound was originally excavated to distinguish the cultural features on the landscape from those which we naturally created (for example by storm or wave action, or animal activity). It was great to visit some of these sites, especially as Geoff was with us to explain about the historical context of the excavation and some of the theories of then and now. Sadly we bid adieu to both Geoff and Craig yesterday. So with only four days to go and one day allocated for packing up, there’s still a lot left to do. Sampling, drawing, scanning and collecting data points…but we’re on a roll and the project is looking really good. Until next time…
Casey Beresford