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The Moyjil site, south-west Victoria, Australia: prologue — of people, birds, shell and fire

Version 2 2024-06-03, 07:35
Version 1 2022-10-02, 22:18
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 07:35 authored by John SherwoodJohn Sherwood
Moyjil (also known as Point Ritchie) is the site of an unusual shell deposit in south-west Victoria showing many characteristics of a midden. Earlier research established an age of 60 ka or older for the shell deposit but could not establish whether humans or animals such as seabirds were responsible for its formation. This paper, the first of six in this special issue, summarises the most recent phase (~10 years) of investigations. The site’s age is now fixed as Last Interglacial and following the stage MIS 5e sea-level maximum (i.e. younger than 120–125 ka). Fragmentation and the limited size distribution of the dominant marine shellfish (Lunella undulata syn. Turbo undulatus) confirm the site as a midden. There is also evidence for fire (charcoal and discoloured and fractured stones) and two hearth-like features, one of which has been archaeologically excavated. None of the evidence collected is able to conclusively demonstrate a human versus animal origin for the site. Significantly, a human origin remains to be disproved. These papers provide the basis for a new phase of research into the possible cultural status of the Moyjil site.

History

Journal

Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria

Volume

130

Pagination

7-13

Location

Melbourne, Vic.

ISSN

0035-9211

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

2

Publisher

CSIRO Publishing

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