Reply to comments on Clarkson et al. (2017) ‘Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago’

Artefact densities for squares B4–B6 and C4–C6
Artefact densities for squares B4–B6 and C4–C6
Clarkson, C., Roberts, R. G., Jacobs, Z., Marwick, B., Fullagar, R., Arnold, L. J., & Hua, Q. (2018). Reply to comments on Clarkson et al.(2017)‘Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago’. Australian Archaeology, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1080/03122417.2018.1462884

At Madjedbebe, a dense and diverse lithic assemblage, the oldest edge-ground tools in the world, the earliest seed grinding outside Africa and an abundance of ground ochre in the lowest dense artefact band (termed Phase 2), all point to an innovative and expressive culture  that had developed many iconic aspects of Aboriginal technology and economy  by 65 ± 6 ka. The detailed documentation of dense pulses of artefacts (each containing different technologies and raw materials), intact site structures (such as hearths comprising diverse carbonised food remains), bands of refitting artefacts and no evidence of extensive bioturbation provides, in our view, the best evidence yet reported for multiple intact phases of occupation in Australia beginning c. 65 ka. We take this opportunity to respond to queries raised in the previous issue of AA and attempt to clarify some key points to avoid misunderstandings

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