Article Title

Built structures in rockshelters of the Pilbara, Western Australia


Built structures in rockshelters are relatively common archaeological features in the Pilbara that have been neglected in the published literature. Drawing primarily on grey literature, coupled with new data from recent investigations, this paper provides a review of current knowledge about these enigmatic structures. Results show that these features are found across the Hamersley Plateau, although are especially abundant in the Packsaddle Range, and in the Chichester Ranges. Most are likely to be late Holocene features, concurrent with a suite of other changes that occurred during that period. The current practice of grouping all built structures in rockshelters into a single site type (i.e. ‘(hu)man-made structures’) conceals wide variation amongst them. A typology is suggested based on morphological and contextual features to allow better characterisation of these features, thereby improving understandings of their distribution and functions, and facilitating more adequate assessments of their significance in management contexts.


indigenous, archaeology, built environment, Holocene, arid zone, stone structures

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