Publication Details

Weston, E., Szabo, K. & Stern, N. (2017). Pleistocene shell tools from Lake Mungo lunette, Australia: identification and interpretation drawing on experimental archaeology. Quaternary International, 427 229-242.


Three freshwater mussel shell tools recovered from the Lake Mungo lunette, in semi-arid south-eastern Australia with bracketing age estimates of 40-30 ka, and a possible fourth tool with bracketing age estimates of 50-40 ka, are described. An experimental approach, combined with detailed structural and taphonomic analysis of the shell establishes the presence of both deliberate cultural modification and wear traces from use on the mussel fragments. The characterization of Australian Pleistocene stone artefacts as being simple and unchanging is steadily being challenged through recent studies of Pleistocene assemblages from Lake Mungo and elsewhere, and these early shell tools reinforce the multidimensionality of ancient Australian technologies.

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