Roonka Flat, Australia

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A multi‐phase Aboriginal open‐air occupation site and burial ground on an elevated terrace of the Murray River in South Australia. The earliest use of the site dates back to about 16 000 bc, with fairly extensive evidence of occupation and two burials. Later, between 5000 and 2000 bc, the area was used mainly as a burial ground. Finally, from 2000 bc down to the 19th century ad, it was again used for settlement as well as burial. More than 100 burials are known from excavations, including flat graves with either dorsal or flexed burials and shaft graves in which the body was placed upright but later crumpled as the shaft filled with debris. Grave goods were found in the shaft graves, including animal remains, ochre, bone and shell ornaments, and, in the late phases, stone and bone tools.


G. L. Pretty, 1977, The cultural chronology of the Roonka Flat: a preliminary consideration. In R. V. S. Wright (ed.), Stone tools as cultural markers: change, evolution and complexity. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 288–331

Subjects: Archaeology.

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