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Archeologist Karen Murphy talks about Mill Point and recommends books

Karen Murphy recommends some interesting books on archeology...

READERSVOICE.COM: What evidence has been found of the Aboriginal inhabitants in the area?

KAREN MURPHY: During the Mill Point Archaeological Project excavations we have found a couple of flaked stone tools belonging to the Aboriginal people of the area.

These have been found in deposits deeper in the ground than the mill period artefacts so are likely to have been left by people prior to the mill being set up.

There is some historical evidence from photos and documents that local Aboriginal people worked for the mill, and there is much more investigation into the Aboriginal inhabitants in the immediate area of the Cootharaba Mill that can be done.

Dr Ian McNiven has done extensive investigations in to the Aboriginal occupation of the surrounding Cooloola region.

Archaeological evidence indicates that Aboriginal people have been using the region for at least 5500 years.

There are shell middens throughout the region including on nearby Teewah Beach, the Cooloola sandmass and along the Noosa River.

There are also stone artefact scatters in the Cooloola sandblows, and evidence of burials in the region.

Other evidence of the Aboriginal inhabitants include a bora ring and scarred trees.

RV: Can you recommend a few books, whether or not on archaeology, especially any out of the way stuff people might not have heard of, and maybe say why you liked them?

KM: Some books of relevance to Mill Point:

Cooloola Coast: Noosa to Fraser Island: The Aboriginal and settler histories of a unique environment, by Elaine Brown, 2000, University of Queensland Press. An excellent and enjoyable volume of the whole history of the region and its people.

Struggle of Memory, by Joan Dugdale, 1991, University of Queensland Press. A novel which begins at the Cootharaba mill settlement.

Some Australian historical archaeology books which show the variety of research that has been done in this country:

Many Inventions: The Chinese in the Rocks, 1890-1930, by Jane Lydon, 1999, Monash Publications in History.

Inside the Rocks: The Archaeology of a Neighbourhood, by Grace Karskens, 1999, Hale and Iremonger Publishers.

Dolly’s Creek: An Archaeology of a Victorian Goldfields Community, by Susan Lawrence, 2000, Melbourne University Press.

Paradise: Life on a Queensland goldfield, by Jonathon Prangnell, Lynda Cheshire and Kate Quirk, 2005, UQASU and Burnett Water Pty Ltd.

Valleys of Stone: The Archaeology and History of Adelaide’s Hills Face, by Pam Smith and Donald Pate, 2006, Koppi Books and Miln Walker and Associates.

And Indigenous Australian archaeology:

Archaeology of the Dreamtime: the story of prehistoric Australia and its people, by Josephine Flood, 2004, JB Publishing.

And archaeology in general:

The Archaeologist’s Field Handbook, by Heather Burke and Claire Smith, 2004, Allen and Unwin Publishers.

This is like my bible, full of great hints and tips, and details of how to do archaeology in the field. I never go into the field without it.