Ok today I am going to tell you a little more about different Aboriginal sites and shelters, starting with Middens.
Middens are shell mounds built up over hundreds of years as a result of countless meals of shellfish. They are found along ocean coasts, estuaries, rivers and inland lakes, and primarily contain mature specimens of edible shellfish species. They may also contain pieces of clay, bird, fish and animal teeth and bones, camp-fire charcoal, stone flakes and the remains of tools. Less commonly found in middens are remains from human burials.
Middens differ immensely in shape and size, from a few shells scattered on the surface, to deposits that are metres thick and buried beneath vegetation. Middens are the most common and most visible Aboriginal site along the Australian coast.
Natural shell deposits can be differentiated from middens because they consist of mature and immature, edible and inedible shellfish and would contain no large amounts of charcoal or stone tools. Wave action would also have sifted the shells into layers, with the larger ones at the top and the smaller ones at the bottom.
There are shelters with art, these are clearly defined by either stencil art or charcoal. Stencils are produced by mixing ochre in the mouth into a wet paste, then spraying it over the object to be stencilled onto the wall of the shelter. This method was used throughout Australia, and if the shelter is protected from the elements, then the artwork will still be visible. Other forms of artwork include ochre paintings, as well as charcoal drawings and etchings, although stencil art was the most common method.
A single artefact depicts an isolated find. These can be verified by identifying the stone and sourcing its origin, or verifying the manufacturing scars on the artefact. The isolated find can be a flaked stone, core or any finished implement. Raw materials most commonly used are chert, silcrete, and mudstones, while larger axe heads are usually made from river rocks or iron stone materials. Although isolated finds are generally artefacts found on their own, they often imply other artefacts will be present in associated deposit nearby.