Investigating hafting and composite tool repair as factors creating variability in backed artefacts: Evidence from Ngungara (Weereewa/Lake George), south-eastern Australia

Publication Name

Archaeology in Oceania


Across the Australian continent, backed artefacts are produced in enormous numbers during the mid-late Holocene. Previous examinations have revealed variation in the average shape of these artefacts, at both continental and regional scales. To better understand the factors creating this variability, we examine a large assemblage of backed artefacts from Ngungara (Weereewa/Lake George), in south-eastern Australia. This is one of the few open sites in Australia which has high-resolution evidence for spatially distinct, short-term workshops. Within these well-bounded workshops both locally manufactured and imported backed artefacts are present. However, across this landscape the shape of these artefacts is not uniform; rather, similarly shaped backed artefacts are concentrated in different workshop areas. Through the analysis of backed artefacts in different workshops, we suggest that “insert copying” or the replacement of spent inserts with similarly shaped, locally manufactured artefacts creates variability in backed artefact shape.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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