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Article contents

The death of Kaakutja: a case of peri-mortem weapon trauma in an Aboriginal man from north-western New South Wales, Australia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 September 2016

Michael Westaway
Affiliation:
Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
Douglas Williams
Affiliation:
Access Archaeology & Heritage, PO Box 816, Moruya, NSW 2537, Australia
Richard Wright
Affiliation:
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
Rachel Wood
Affiliation:
Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University, 142 Mills Road, Acton, ACT 2601, Australia
Jon Olley
Affiliation:
Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
Jaime Swift
Affiliation:
College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
Sarah Martin
Affiliation:
Office of Environment & Heritage, 183 Argent Street, Broken Hill, NSW 2880, Australia
Justine Kemp
Affiliation:
Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
Shane Rolton
Affiliation:
Wysiwyg 3D, Unit 1, 22 Norman Street, Peakhurst, NSW 2210, Australia
William Bates
Affiliation:
Paakantji Aboriginal Cultural Group, Broken Hill, NSW, Australia
Corresponding

Abstract

Skeletal remains from a burial in New South Wales exhibit evidence of fatal trauma, of a kind normally indicative of sharp metal weapons, yet the burial dates to the mid thirteenth century—600 years before European settlers reached the area. Could sharp-edged wooden weapons from traditional Aboriginal culture inflict injuries similar to those resulting from later, metal blades? Analysis indicates that the wooden weapons known as ‘Lil-lils’ and the fighting boomerangs (‘Wonna’) both have blades that could fit within the dimensions of the major trauma and are capable of having caused the fatal wounds.

Type
Research
Information
Antiquity , Volume 90 , Issue 353 , October 2016 , pp. 1318 - 1333
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2016 

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