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Site Disturbance and Archaeological Integrity: The Case of Bend Road, an Open Site in Melbourne Spanning Pre-LGM Pleistocene to Late Holocene Periods

Australian Archaeology
Issue 70 (June 2010)

Abstract: Bend Road is an open site covering c.12 hectares on a sand sheet formation in southeast Melbourne, now bisected by the new Mitcham-Frankston tollway. Results from earlier salvage archaeology suggesting this was a significant scientific site were subsequently questioned on geomorphological grounds that indicated post-depositional disturbance. In 2006 the authors carried out extensive and detailed excavations and analyses that indicated that while both large-scale aeolian deflation events and smaller-scale bioturbation could be demonstrated, paradoxically the archaeology retained a clear coherence. While the bulk of the archaeology relates to the backed artefact period - the site has now yielded hundreds of asymmetric points and geometric microlith forms from the late Holocene - an earlier sequence extends back to 30-35,000 BP, putting Bend Road amongst the oldest known sites in Victoria. This paper summarises the methodological procedures and results that reflect both the natural disturbances to the site and the data that demonstrate its archaeological integrity, and points to a growing imbalance between increasingly sophisticated dating techniques available to the archaeologist and the levels of scale and resolution that usually pertain in archaeological sites.

To cite this article: Hewitt, Geoff and Allen, Jim. Site Disturbance and Archaeological Integrity: The Case of Bend Road, an Open Site in Melbourne Spanning Pre-LGM Pleistocene to Late Holocene Periods [online]. Australian Archaeology, No. 70, June 2010: 1-16. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=202131453822974;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 0312-2417. [cited 07 May 16].

Personal Author: Hewitt, Geoff; Allen, Jim; Source: Australian Archaeology, No. 70, June 2010: 1-16 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 0312-2417 Subject: Archaeological geology; Excavations (Archaeology); Antiquities; Archaeology; Sediments (Geology); Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Archaeology Program, School of Historical and European Studies,La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia, email: g.hewitt@latrobe.edu.au
(2) Archaeology Program, School of Historical and European Studies,La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia

Database: Humanities & Social Sciences Collection