Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Lake Mungo, Archaeology of

  • Nicola Stern
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_699

Introduction

Lake Mungo came to the attention of the international paleoanthropological community during the early 1970s following the widely publicized discovery of what were then, and still are, some of the oldest, well-dated traces of human activity on the Australian continent, including the oldest known ritual human burials (Bowler et al. 1970; Barbetti & Allen 1972; Bowler & Thorne 1976; Bowler et al. 2003). However, these are only a few of the thousands of activity traces preserved in the 33-km-long transverse, crescentic dune (lunette) that bounds the eastern margin of Lake Mungo; Lake Mungo is only one of seventeen large and numerous smaller overflow lakes that together cover an area of approximately 2,400 km 2 on the southeast margin of the continent’s arid core (Fig. 1). These lakes are now dry, but at times in the past when temperatures and evaporation were reduced, they were filled via a distributory of the Lachlan River, which is one of three major river systems draining...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Research in the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area is undertaken with the permission of the Elders’ Council and the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area and is funded by the Australian Research Council.

References

  1. Allen, H. 1972. Where the crow flies backwards: man and land in the Darling Basin. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Australian National University.Google Scholar
  2. - 1974. The Bagundji of the Darling Basin: cereal gatherers in an uncertain environment. World Archaeology 5: 309-22.Google Scholar
  3. - 1990. Environmental history in southwestern New South Wales during the late Pleistocene, in C. Gamble & O. Soffer (ed.) The world at 18000 BP, Volume 2: low latitudes: 296-321. London: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  4. - 1998. Reinterpreting the 1969-1972 Willandra Lakes archaeological surveys. Archaeology in Oceania 33: 207-20.Google Scholar
  5. Allen, H. & S. Holdaway. 2009. The archaeology of Mungo and the Willandra Lakes: looking back, looking forward. Archaeology in Oceania 44: 96-106.Google Scholar
  6. Bailey, G.N. 2007. Time perspectives, palimpsests and the archaeology of time. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26: 198-223.Google Scholar
  7. Barbetti, M. & H. Allen. 1972. Prehistoric man at Lake Mungo, Australia, by 32,000 years BP. Nature 240: 46-8.Google Scholar
  8. Bowler, J.M. 1970. Late Quaternary environments: a study of lakes and associated sediments in South Eastern Australia. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Australian National University.Google Scholar
  9. - 1971. Pleistocene salinities and climatic change: evidence from lakes and lunettes in southeastern Australia, in D.J. Mulvaney & J. Golson (ed.) Aboriginal man and environment in Australia: 47-65. Canberra: Australian National University Press.Google Scholar
  10. - 1976. Aridity in Australia: age, origins and expression in aeolian landforms and sediments. Earth Science Reviews 12: 279-310.Google Scholar
  11. - 1998. Willandra Lakes revisited: environmental framework for human occupation. Archaeology in Oceania 33: 120-55.Google Scholar
  12. Bowler, J.M. & A.G. Thorne. 1976. Human remains from Lake Mungo: discovery and excavation of Lake Mungo III in R. L. Kirk & A. G. Thorne (ed.) The origin of the Australians: 127-38. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.Google Scholar
  13. Bowler, J.M., R. Jones, H. Allen & A.G. Thorne. 1970. Pleistocene human remains from Australia: a living site and human cremation from Lake Mungo, western New South Wales. World Archaeology 2: 39-60.Google Scholar
  14. Bowler, J. M., H. Johnston, J.M. Olley, J.R. Prescott, R.G. Roberts, W. Shawcross & N.A. Spooner. 2003. New ages for human occupation and climatic change at Lake Mungo, Australia. Nature 421: 837-40.Google Scholar
  15. Bowler, J.M., R. Gillespie, H. Johnston & K. Boljkovac. 2011. Wind v water: Glacial Maximum records from the Willandra Lakes, in S.G. Haberle & B. David (ed.) Peopled landscapes: archaeological and biographic approaches to landscapes (Terra Australis 34). Canberra: Australian Capital University e-Press.Google Scholar
  16. Clark, P. 1987. Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area archaeological resource study. Report for the NSW Department of Environment and Planning.Google Scholar
  17. Dowling, P. 1985. Middle Willandra Creek site survey. Report for Department of Prehistory and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
  18. Grün, R., N. Spooner, J. Magee, A. Thorn, J. Simpson, G. Yan & G. Mortimer. 2010. Stratigraphy and chronology of the WLH 50 human remains, Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area, Australia. Journal of Human Evolution 60 (5): 597-604.Google Scholar
  19. Hudjashov, G., T. Kivisild, P.A. Underhill, P. Endicott, J.J. Sanchez, A.A. Lin, P. Shen, P. Oefner, C. Renfrew, R. Villems & P. Forster. 2007. Revealing the prehistoric settlement of Australia by Y chromosome and mtDNA analysis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104: 8726-30.Google Scholar
  20. Johnston, H. 1993. Pleistocene shell middens of the Willandra Lakes in M. A. Smith, M. Spriggs & B. Fankhauser (ed.) Sahul in review: Pleistocene archaeology in Australia, New Guinea and Island Melanesia: 197-203. Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar
  21. Johnston, H. & P. Clark. 1998. Willandra Lakes archaeological investigations 1968-98. Archaeology in Oceania 33: 105-19.Google Scholar
  22. McEvoy, B.P., J.M. Lind, E.T. Wang, R.K. Moyzis, P.M. Visscher, S.M. Van Holst Pellekaan & A.N. Wilton. 2010. Whole-genome genetic diversity in a sample of Australians with deep Aboriginal ancestry. American Journal of Human Genetics 82: 297-305.Google Scholar
  23. Mulvaney, D.J. & J.M. Bowler. 1981. Lake Mungo and the Willandra Lakes, in The heritage of Australia: the illustrated register of the national estate: 180-83. Sydney: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  24. Mulvaney, D.J. & J. Kamminga. 1999. Prehistory of Australia. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  25. Olley, J.M., R.G. Roberts, H. Yoshida & J.M. Bowdler. 2006. Single-grain optical dating of grave-infill associated with human burials at Lake Mungo, Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews 25: 1469-2474.Google Scholar
  26. Riech, D., N. Patterson, M. Kitchner, F. Delfin, M.R. Nandineni, I. Pugach, A.M.-S. Ko, Y.-C. Ko, T.A. Jinam, M.E. Phipps, N. Saitou, A. Wollstein, M. Kayser, S. Pääbo & M. Stoneking. 2011. Denisova admixture and the first modern dispersals into Southeast Asia and Oceania. The American Journal of Human Genetics 89: 516-28.Google Scholar
  27. Shawcross, W. 1998. Archaeological excavations at Mungo. Archaeology in Oceania 33:183-200.Google Scholar
  28. Shawcross, F.W. & M. Kaye. 1980. Australian archaeology: implications of current interdisciplinary research. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 5: 112-28.Google Scholar
  29. Stanner, W.H. [1953] 1987. ‘The dreaming’ in W.H. Edwards (ed.) Traditional Aboriginal religion: a reader: 227-38. South Melbourne: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Stern, N., J. Tumney, K. Fitzsimmons & P. Kajewski. 2013. Strategies for investigating human responses to changes in landscape and climate at Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes, southeast Australia, in D. Frankel, J. Webb & S. Lawrence (ed.) Archaeology in environment and technology: intersections and transformations: 31-50. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Veth, P., N. Stern, J. McDonald, J. Balme & I. Davidson. 2011. The role of information exchange in the colonization of Sahul, in R. Whallon, W.A. Lovis & R.K. Hitchcock (ed.) Information and its role in hunter-gatherer bands: 203-349. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.Google Scholar
  32. Webb, S.G. 1989. The Willandra Lakes hominids. Canberra: The Australian National University.Google Scholar
  33. - 2006. The first boat people. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. - 2007. Further research of the Willandra Lakes fossil footprint site, southeastern Australia. Journal of Human Evolution 52: 711-15.Google Scholar
  35. Webb, S., M.L. Cupper & R. Robins. 2006. Pleistocene human footprints from the Willandra Lakes, southeastern Australia. Journal of Human Evolution 50: 405-13.Google Scholar
  36. Westaway, M.C. & C. Groves. 2009. The mark of Ancient Java is on none of them. Archaeology in Oceania 44: 84-95.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Bowler, J. M. 2002. Lake Mungo: window to Australia’s Past. CD-ROM.Google Scholar
  2. Stern, N. n.d. Latest research. Available at: http://www.visitmungo.com.au/research (accessed 30 August 2011).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social SciencesLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia