Redating the onset of burning at Lynch's Crater (North Queensland): Implications for human settlement in Australia

CSM Turney, AP Kershaw, P Moss, Michael Ian Bird, LK Fifield, RG Cresswell, GM Santos, ML di Tada, PA Hausladen, Y Zhou

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102 Citations (Scopus)


Lynch's Crater preserves a continuous, high-resolution record of environmental changes in north Queensland. This record suggests a marked increase in burning that appears to be independent of any known major climatic boundaries. This increase is accompanied, or closely followed, by the virtually complete replacement of rainforest by sclerophyll vegetation. The absence of any major climatic shift associated with this increase in fire frequency therefore has been interpreted as a result of early human impact in the area. The age for this increase in burning, on the basis of conventional radiocarbon dating, was previously thought to be approximately 38000 C-14 yr BP, supporting the traditional model for human arrival in Australia at 40 000 C-14 yr BP Here we have applied a more rigorous pre-treatment and graphitisation procedure for radiocarbon dating samples from the Lynch's Crater sequence. These new dates suggest that the increase in fire frequency occurred at 45 000 C-14 yr BP, supporting the alternative view that human occupation of Australia occurred by at least 45 000-55 000 cal. yr BP. Copyright (C) 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-771
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


  • radiocarbon elating
  • oxidation resistant elemental carbon
  • charcoal
  • environmental change
  • human impact
  • Australian archaeology
  • SITE


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