A WELL-spotted heritage discovery by Chris Palfery and his girlfriend came about during their recent walk around the Lake Weyba mangrove boardwalk and Esplanade. Chris happened to notice a number of Aboriginal artefacts, which appeared to have surfaced from beneath fill and river stones surrounding the base of a power pole and substation.
Having grown up around Lake Weyba, Chris, an Archaeology student at Melbourne’s La Trobe University, contacted Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) Traditional Owner Kerry Jones to arrange a site visit. While Kerry was unable to make the trip, his cousin Bridgette Davis and friends came to inspect the sites and artefacts. After examining the built-up mound upon which the substation sits, Chris noted several features about the stone artefacts. “They reflect core and flake technology. The rock is finegrained, siliceous material and is considered high-quality,” Chris said.
“Some pieces are almost completely isotropic, meaning they are uniform in all orientations.” Chris explained that the material found associated with human culture was abundant but mainly consisted of angular fragments. “Typically, at a site like this, you wouldn’t find high-quality tools because the people who made them would have taken the tools with them, leaving only the knapping debris or low-quality flakes behind,” he said. “The other possibility is a learning area, where the youth are practising stone work, or perhaps children are being taught the craft".
“Further investigation would help us test these ideas, or help us further our understanding of what where actually looking at. “What we don’t know is how much the mound was built up from the natural surface, what layers are indigenous, and what layers are colonial - and where the construction fill came from. “If the stone artefacts did come from another site, hopefully the Noosa Council can be of assistance,” Chris added.
Lake Weyba and surrounds is a well-known area for Aboriginal sites and artefacts and a significant part of the Aboriginal Cultural Landscape on the Sunshine Coast, having been settled by humans for thousand of years. Historians and archaeologists are now realising that Aboriginal People across Australia were not just ‘hunters and gatherers’ but have traditional practices in sustainable land management including practices in agriculture, cultivation, aquaculture, as well as soil conservation and water management.
Local Traditional Owners are ensuring enquiries be made to relevant agencies as to where this artefact and construction material or river gravel came from, and whether the source is another valuable artefact area that needs to be assessed and registered. All artefact areas and Aboriginal sites, be they on private or public lands, have protection under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003. Penalties may apply for the disturbance of such sites.
If you have an interest in cultural heritage or have encountered local Aboriginal sites, artefacts or story places, which you would like to share, please contact Traditional Owners, Kerry Jones on 0401 205 367, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Bridgette Davis on 0435 918 764, email email@example.com.
IMAGE 1 - HERITAGE MATERIAL: Bridgette holds some of the broken artefacts that caught Chris’s eye.
IMAGE 2 - DISCUSSION TIME: Bridgette, Rachele, Chris and Craig consider the possibilities of why such artefacts are present at the Lake Weyba site.
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