Digital technology helping preserve Native Australian culture
UWA archaeologist Vicky Winton said local Indigenous people had been involved in the federally funded project, which would ultimately lead to a range of educational and heritage management programs.
She said the project allowed future generations of Wajarri people to learn about the culture of their ancestors.
"At the moment we haven't got scientific dates from when people first started using the area," Dr Winton said.
"One of the things our project is trying to do is find more early dates from the area going back tens of thousands of years and generally we want to know more about how people were living in the area in the past."
Science answering questions of the past
The Weld Range, south west of Meekatharra, is home to the nationally heritage-listed site of Wilgie Mia, an Aboriginal ochre mine.
"We think Wilgie Mia has been used for many tens of thousands of years and we know ochre from Wilgie Mia was transported over thousands of kilometres," said Dr Winton.
"We want to start getting some scientific documentation for this."
Dr Winton said Wajarri and Yamatji people had conducted post-fieldwork analysis on the data collected during the archaeological surveys, at UWA.
Murchison man Brendan Hamlett said the study helped him learn how charcoal fragments could be identified as coming from specific tree species.
"You can tell what wood people have been burning just by looking through a microscope and then find out how old it is using radiocarbon dating," he said.
"We use hardly any mulga when we cook, don't even think of using it.
"We use miniritchie because it stays hot, gidgee which goes to ash but is hot underneath and doesn't smoke much.
"But the charcoal down here [from the Weld Range] shows that it was different in the past.
"It was a surprise - why would they use mulga?
"Old boy [his father, Colin Hamlett] and I, we'll have to try that wood out."
Mr Hamlett said he would use the information to train the younger generation of Wajarri people, including his nephew Liam Bell.
"Liam is one of the youngest ones who has come down here now and learnt this stuff," he said.
"Now he can pass it on to his kids and their kids so it's never lost."
Author: Gian De Poloni | Source: ABC News Website [July 07, 2014]
Labels ArchaeoHeritage, Archaeology, Australasia, Australia, Breakingnews, Heritage, Indigenous Cultures, Oceania