A ground penetrating radar survey near the excavated burial site of Kiacatoo Man
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Ground penetrating radar technology has advanced in the last decade to the point where it is possible to identify objects as small as a grave quickly and with great precision. This study investigates its potential for identifying possible human burials alongside the grave site of Kiacatoo Man in central New South Wales. In 2011, the weathered remains of this individual were discovered in a levee of an ancient course of the Lachlan River, and measurements taken from the reconstructed femur suggest an individual of exceptional size and rugosity. Preliminary OSL analyses of fine sandy sediment underlying the grave floor provide a maximum age for the skeleton of around 17,000 years. A GPR survey over a 200 m x 40 m grid of the levee revealed five disturbances that are consistent with the geophysical and morphological expression of grave excavations. The technique appears to be an effective tool for mapping of unmarked graves, and may be particularly useful for systematic archaeological exploration of the source-bordering dunes and levees of the Riverine Plain. These landforms may hold the key to understanding burial patterning, the distribution of people, and land-use during the late Pleistocene in Australia.
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Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience