Peel town, one of many coastal camps established with the 1829 British colonization of the Swan River in the southwest of Australia, collapsed after 11 months of hardship. It has been long considered that dislike of the camp’s leader, Thomas Peel, was the main reason for the abandonment of the camp. However, the analysis of charcoal from hearths, fireplaces, and ash pits associated with five dwellings from the camp suggests that, during their stay, colonists exhausted local wood as fuel, forcing them to use timber containers, furniture, and ships’ timbers as firewood. The results propose that colonists were under extreme resource stress, which contributed to the camp’s abandonment.


history, archaeology, Australia, Peel town, Swan River Colony

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