Publications by authors named "Yinika Perston"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Archaeology and art in context: Excavations at the Gunu Site Complex, Northwest Kimberley, Western Australia.

PLoS One 2020 5;15(2):e0226628. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Centre for Archaeological Science, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

The Kimberley region of Western Australia is one of the largest and most diverse rock art provenances in the world, with a complex stylistic sequence spanning at least 16 ka, culminating in the modern art-making of the Wunumbal people. The Gunu Site Complex, in the remote Mitchell River region of the northwest Kimberley, is one of many local expressions of the Kimberley rock art sequence. Here we report excavations at two sites in this complex: Gunu Rock, a sand sheet adjacent to rock art panels; and Gunu Cave, a floor deposit within an extensive rockshelter. Excavations at Gunu Rock provide evidence for two phases of occupation, the first from 7-8 to 2.7 ka, and the second from 1064 cal BP. Excavations at Gunu Rock provide evidence for occupation from the end of the second phase to the recent past. Stone for tools in the early phase were procured from a variety of sources, but quartz crystal reduction dominated the second occupation phase. Small quartz crystals were reduced by freehand percussion to provide small flake tools and blanks for manufacturing small points called nguni by the Wunambal people today. Quartz crystals were prominent in historic ritual practices associated with the Wanjina belief system. Complex methods of making bifacially-thinned and pressure flaked quartzite projectile points emerged after 2.7 ka. Ochre pigments were common in both occupation phases, but evidence for occupation contemporaneous with the putative age of the oldest rock art styles was not discovered in the excavations. Our results show that developing a complete understanding of rock art production and local occupation patterns requires paired excavations inside and outside of the rockshelters that dominate the Kimberley.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0226628PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7001911PMC
April 2020

A reassessment of the early archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a Late Pleistocene rock-shelter site on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

PLoS One 2018 11;13(4):e0193025. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.

This paper presents a reassessment of the archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a key early human occupation site in the Late Pleistocene of Southeast Asia. Excavated originally by Ian Glover in 1975, this limestone rock-shelter in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has long held significance in our understanding of early human dispersals into 'Wallacea', the vast zone of oceanic islands between continental Asia and Australia. We present new stratigraphic information and dating evidence from Leang Burung 2 collected during the course of our excavations at this site in 2007 and 2011-13. Our findings suggest that the classic Late Pleistocene modern human occupation sequence identified previously at Leang Burung 2, and proposed to span around 31,000 to 19,000 conventional 14C years BP (~35-24 ka cal BP), may actually represent an amalgam of reworked archaeological materials. Sources for cultural materials of mixed ages comprise breccias from the rear wall of the rock-shelter-remnants of older, eroded deposits dated to 35-23 ka cal BP-and cultural remains of early Holocene antiquity. Below the upper levels affected by the mass loss of Late Pleistocene deposits, our deep-trench excavations uncovered evidence for an earlier hominin presence at the site. These findings include fossils of now-extinct proboscideans and other 'megafauna' in stratified context, as well as a cobble-based stone artifact technology comparable to that produced by late Middle Pleistocene hominins elsewhere on Sulawesi.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0193025PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5894965PMC
July 2018

Early human symbolic behavior in the Late Pleistocene of Wallacea.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017 04 3;114(16):4105-4110. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia 4111.

Wallacea, the zone of oceanic islands separating the continental regions of Southeast Asia and Australia, has yielded sparse evidence for the symbolic culture of early modern humans. Here we report evidence for symbolic activity 30,000-22,000 y ago at Leang Bulu Bettue, a cave and rock-shelter site on the Wallacean island of Sulawesi. We describe hitherto undocumented practices of personal ornamentation and portable art, alongside evidence for pigment processing and use in deposits that are the same age as dated rock art in the surrounding karst region. Previously, assemblages of multiple and diverse types of Pleistocene "symbolic" artifacts were entirely unknown from this region. The Leang Bulu Bettue assemblage provides insight into the complexity and diversification of modern human culture during a key period in the global dispersal of our species. It also shows that early inhabitants of Sulawesi fashioned ornaments from body parts of endemic animals, suggesting modern humans integrated exotic faunas and other novel resources into their symbolic world as they colonized the biogeographically unique regions southeast of continental Eurasia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1619013114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5402422PMC
April 2017

Experimental Insights into the Cognitive Significance of Early Stone Tools.

PLoS One 2016 8;11(7):e0158803. Epub 2016 Jul 8.

Stone Tools and Cognition Hub, Archaeology, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.

Stone-flaking technology is the most enduring evidence for the evolving cognitive abilities of our early ancestors. Flake-making was mastered by African hominins ~3.3 ma, followed by the appearance of handaxes ~1.75 ma and complex stone reduction strategies by ~1.6 ma. Handaxes are stones flaked on two opposed faces ('bifacially'), creating a robust, sharp-edged tool, and complex reduction strategies are reflected in strategic prior flaking to prepare or 'predetermine' the nature of a later flake removal that served as a tool blank. These technologies are interpreted as major milestones in hominin evolution that reflect the development of higher-order cognitive abilities, and the presence and nature of these technologies are used to track movements of early hominin species or 'cultures' in the archaeological record. However, the warranting argument that certain variations in stone tool morphologies are caused by differences in cognitive abilities relies on analogy with technical replications by skilled modern stoneworkers, and this raises the possibility that researchers are projecting modern approaches to technical problems onto our non-modern hominin ancestors. Here we present the results of novel experiments that randomise flake removal and disrupt the modern stoneworker's inclination to use higher-order reasoning to guide the stone reduction process. Although our protocols prevented goal-directed replication of stone tool types, the experimental assemblage is morphologically standardised and includes handaxe-like 'protobifaces' and cores with apparently 'predetermined' flake removals. This shows that the geometrical constraints of fracture mechanics can give rise to what appear to be highly-designed stoneworking products and techniques when multiple flakes are removed randomly from a stone core.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0158803PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938430PMC
July 2017