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Holocene Demographic Changes and the Emergence of Complex Societies in Prehistoric Australia.

A continental-scale model of Holocene Australian hunter-gatherer demography and mobility is generated using radiocarbon data and geospatial techniques. Results show a delayed expansion and settlement of much of Australia following the termination of the late Pleistocene until after 9,000 years ago (... Full description

Journal Title: PloS one 2015, Vol.10(6), p.e0128661
Main Author: Williams, Alan N
Other Authors: Ulm, Sean , Turney, Chris S M , Rohde, David , White, Gentry
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
ID: E-ISSN: 1932-6203 ; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128661
Link: http://search.proquest.com/docview/1690211801/?pq-origsite=primo
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title: Holocene Demographic Changes and the Emergence of Complex Societies in Prehistoric Australia.
format: Article
creator:
  • Williams, Alan N
  • Ulm, Sean
  • Turney, Chris S M
  • Rohde, David
  • White, Gentry
subjects:
  • Archaeology–Statistics & Numerical Data
  • Diet, Paleolithic–Statistics & Numerical Data
  • El Nino-Southern Oscillation–Statistics & Numerical Data
  • Fossils–Statistics & Numerical Data
  • Humans–Statistics & Numerical Data
  • Population Dynamics–Statistics & Numerical Data
ispartof: PloS one, 2015, Vol.10(6), p.e0128661
description: A continental-scale model of Holocene Australian hunter-gatherer demography and mobility is generated using radiocarbon data and geospatial techniques. Results show a delayed expansion and settlement of much of Australia following the termination of the late Pleistocene until after 9,000 years ago (or 9 ka). The onset of the Holocene climatic optimum (9-6 ka) coincides with rapid expansion, growth and establishment of regional populations across approximately 75% of Australia, including much of the arid zone. This diffusion from isolated Pleistocene refugia provides a mechanism for the synchronous spread of pan-continental archaeological and linguistic attributes at this time (e.g. Pama-Nyungan language, Panaramitee art style, backed artefacts). We argue longer patch residence times were possible at the end of the optimum, resulting in a shift to more sedentary lifestyles and establishment of low-level food production in some parts of the continent. The onset of El Nino - Southern Oscillation (ENSO; 4.5-2 ka) restricted low-level food production, and resulted in population fragmentation, abandonment of marginal areas, and reduction in ranging territory of approximately 26%. Importantly, climate amelioration brought about by more pervasive La Nina conditions (post-2ka), resulted in an intensification of the mobility strategies and technological innovations that were developed in the early- to mid-Holocene. These changes resulted in population expansion and utilization of the entire continent. We propose that it was under these demographically packed conditions that the complex social and religious societies observed at colonial contact were formed.
language: eng
source:
identifier: E-ISSN: 1932-6203 ; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128661
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 19326203
  • 1932-6203
url: Link


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titleHolocene Demographic Changes and the Emergence of Complex Societies in Prehistoric Australia.
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descriptionA continental-scale model of Holocene Australian hunter-gatherer demography and mobility is generated using radiocarbon data and geospatial techniques. Results show a delayed expansion and settlement of much of Australia following the termination of the late Pleistocene until after 9,000 years ago (or 9 ka). The onset of the Holocene climatic optimum (9-6 ka) coincides with rapid expansion, growth and establishment of regional populations across approximately 75% of Australia, including much of the arid zone. This diffusion from isolated Pleistocene refugia provides a mechanism for the synchronous spread of pan-continental archaeological and linguistic attributes at this time (e.g. Pama-Nyungan language, Panaramitee art style, backed artefacts). We argue longer patch residence times were possible at the end of the optimum, resulting in a shift to more sedentary lifestyles and establishment of low-level food production in some parts of the continent. The onset of El Nino - Southern Oscillation (ENSO; 4.5-2 ka) restricted low-level food production, and resulted in population fragmentation, abandonment of marginal areas, and reduction in ranging territory of approximately 26%. Importantly, climate amelioration brought about by more pervasive La Nina conditions (post-2ka), resulted in an intensification of the mobility strategies and technological innovations that were developed in the early- to mid-Holocene. These changes resulted in population expansion and utilization of the entire continent. We propose that it was under these demographically packed conditions that the complex social and religious societies observed at colonial contact were formed.
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