Dr. Kelsey Lowe conducting a resistivity survey of the Wallen Wallen Creek site. © Everick Foundation Ltd

Dr. Kelsey Lowe conducting a resistivity survey of the Wallen Wallen Creek site. © Everick Foundation Ltd

Wallen Wallen Creek, North Stradbroke Island 

Searching for the Pleistocene: A re-investigation of Rob Neal’s 1980s excavations at Wallen Wallen Creek and Pleistocene site identification in Southeast Queensland.

Rob Neal’s excavation during the 1980s of Wallen Wallen Creek, Southeast Queensland© Everick Foundation Ltd.

Rob Neal’s excavation during the 1980s of Wallen Wallen Creek, Southeast Queensland© Everick Foundation Ltd.

PROJECT

A multidisciplinary archaeological project involving a new excavation and analysis of Rob Neal’s original 1980s excavations at Wallen Wallen Creek, North Stradbroke Island. This project is being run in collaboration with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) and the University of Queensland (UQ). Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) technology of the deposit will enable accurate site dating. Following the methods of Dr Dr Richard Robins and Dr Errol Stock, predictive site modelling will be used to identify other potential Pleistocene sites in Queensland for comparative analysis.

ISSUE

Site dating of Wallen Wallen Creek by Rob Neal in the 1980s determined an age of 17,000 years, making it the oldest known site in southeast Queensland. Unfortunately, the site was not further investigated following unexpected dating complications. Nevertheless, Wallen Wallen Creek has the potential to be even older than this estimate and new analyses of Neal’s original recovered archaeological material have the potential to clarify the events of the early Holocene transition and its impact on human lifeways. Recent work suggests the environment was suitable for early human occupation but currently this is poorly understood and few Pleistocene sites have yet been located.

Wallen Wallen Creek in 2019, with Rob Neal’s original 1982 excavation trench still visible from the ground surface. © Everick Foundation Ltd.

Wallen Wallen Creek in 2019, with Rob Neal’s original 1982 excavation trench still visible from the ground surface. © Everick Foundation Ltd.

SOLUTION

By combining the expertise of specialists in the fields of archaeology, geoscience, and palaeoclimatology, with the Traditional Knowledge of Aboriginal groups, a more accurate and thorough understanding of early human habitation in southeast Queensland can be established. This multidimensional approach will potentially significantly increase our understanding of the relationship between environmental changes and regional habitation patterns and how this relates to broader climatic variables.

FURTHER READING

Robins, R., J. Hall, and E. Stock (2015). Geoarchaeology and the archaeological record in the coastal Moreton Region, Queensland, Australia. Quaternary International 385: 191-205.

Neal, R. and E. Stock (1986). Pleistocene occupation in the south-east Queensland coastal region. Nature 323: 618-621.

OUR PARTNERS

The University of Queensland

The University of Queensland

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC)

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC)

For more information, please contact Everick Foundation at info@everick.com.au or call (07) 3211 4478.