Quaternary International ( IF 2.003 ) Pub Date : 2020-08-01 , DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2020.07.020 Carly Monks
Southwestern Australia has a Mediterranean-type climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters that support vegetation types ranging from tall closed forest and open woodland, to dense, low heath. At the Last Glacial Maximum, the coast was located as far as 100 km distant of its current location, after which rising post-glacial sea levels radically altered the southwestern coastline, drowning large tracts of the continental shelf, creating islands and rocky cliffs from areas of higher relief, and altering delicately balanced coastal ecosystems. For Aboriginal people living in southwestern Australia these changes would have substantially altered the availability and reliability of important plants and animals, both on the coastal plain and within littoral and estuarine environments, which raises the question of how we define and distinguish the economic strategies employed by people occupying these liminal, transitional landscapes. This paper reviews all available securely dated archaeofaunal records from 31 archaeological sites within the southwestern Australian coastal zone to develop a general economic model of Aboriginal occupation of the region's changing Holocene coastal zones. Faunal records were grouped by bioregion to investigate regional variation in environmental and cultural trends. Archaeological, palaeontological, and palaeoclimatic evidence indicates that people adapted as the coastal plain transformed during the Holocene, altering subsistence strategies and land management practices.