Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 167–189

Developing a Landscape History as Part of a Survey Strategy: A Critique of Current Settlement System Approaches based on Case Studies from Western New South Wales, Australia


DOI: 10.1007/s10816-008-9051-y

Cite this article as:
Holdaway, S. & Fanning, P. J Archaeol Method Theory (2008) 15: 167. doi:10.1007/s10816-008-9051-y


In Australia, geomorphological change since the late nineteenth century ensures surface artifact visibility but the contribution of full coverage regional survey to an understanding of past landscape use is limited by the lack of easily datable artifacts. Here, we describe a multi-stage survey strategy based around intensive archaeological, geomorphological and chronological studies as an alternative to traditional site-based approaches. We view the formation of the archaeological record as a sedimentary process and use a geomorphological approach to understand the history of landscape use from surface artifact scatters. We pay particular attention to recording datasets with reference to the timescales over which they have accumulated, and we discuss the types of behavioral inferences that can be drawn from the results of intensive survey, illustrated using the results from our western New South Wales research.


Survey Geoarchaeology Australia Chronology 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology DepartmentUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Graduate School of the EnvironmentMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

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