Gibbs, Martin and Harrison, Rodney
Dynamics of Dispersion revisited? Archaeological context and the study of Aboriginal knapped glass artefacts in Australia.
Australian Archaeology, 67
The archaeological study of Aboriginal knapped glass artefacts in Australia has focussed almost entirely on glass tool production, and more particularly, on the technology of glass tool production (as opposed, for example, to the social context of glass tool production). In this paper, we suggest the value of an approach which foregrounds context in an attempt to point towards new directions for knapped glass artefact studies in Australia. We make reference to qualitative field observations of Aboriginal knapped glass artefacts located on early copper and lead mining settlements from mid-western Australia, and return to pioneering work done by Byrne in the same region on silcrete artefacts to illustrate our argument. In doing so, we note the ways in which these studies demonstrate historically changing approaches to the archaeological record by archaeologists from the University of Western Australia, and our own work as Sandra’s students in the late 1980s and late 1990s respectively.
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