What's on: AMRI Seminar Series

The Australian Museum Research Institute hosts a monthly series of short talks showcasing current research at the Australian Museum.

AMRI Seminar Series #2

AMRI Seminar Series #2
Photographer:  © Australian Museum

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Event Type:
Special event
01.00 PM to 02.00 PM

The seminar consists of snapshots of new results or ongoing projects designed to keep our staff informed, but are also open to members of the public with an interest in scientific research.


Wednesday 9 December 

Microscopic revelations - multiple uses of ground-edged hatchets (axes) in South Eastern Australia

Nina Kononenko and Val Attenbrow, AMRI

Ground-edged hatchets (stone axes) are the only stone implements found in archaeological contexts whose counterpart can be found unambiguously in ethno-historical accounts. The form of these tools and their similarity to the European axe/hatchet pre-supposes their only or primary use was for wood-working. However, ethno-historical sources record individual ground-edged hatchets being used for multiple functions. We conducted microscopic examination of a sample of 51 ground-edged implements from the NSW Central Coast. The types of wear were identified at magnifications from 10× to 60× using a Dino-LiteTM digital microscope. We present the first results of the analysis that documents 18 types of use-wear and indicates the ground-edged implements were used for a variety of purposes including processing plant food, and working wood, stone, bone, hide and ochre.


Jenolan Caves: a megafaunal site from the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, New South Wales, Australia

Anne M. Musser, AMRI & Jenolan Caves Reserve Trust

Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve (JKCR) includes a large, complex cave system situated in a wildlife reserve approximately three hours west of Sydney, just east of the Dividing Range. The caves are developed in Silurian limestone, part of the vast Lachlan Fold Belt extending from Queensland to Tasmania. Although fossil vertebrate remains are known from the caves, these have generally remained unstudied. Based on current cave surveys, identification of bones within the caves, and identification of materials collected previously by the Australian Museum during the 1960s and 1970s (now part of the Australian Museum’s palaeontology collection), I present preliminary results of Pleistocene to Recent species. As in most cave systems, sub-fossil bones are relatively abundant, found as loose bones or preserved in breccia, cave earth and occasionally calcite. Jenolan may have provided refugia for rare and restricted species in the past, as it does today. The great age of the caves suggests that pre-Pleistocene taxa may be found in areas where favourable preservational conditions were present. As the closest megafaunal site to Sydney, and the only megafaunal site within the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the paleontology of Jenolan Caves will provide much-needed information on this extraordinary part of southeastern Australia.

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