Radiocarbon determinations luminescence dating and australian archaeology
This cave, the largest archaeological site on the mountain, has cultural deposits that are more than 37,000 radiocarbon years old (David, 1993).
At this site the deposits are very dry and there are few terrestrial mammals on the mountain-top that could have disturbed the sediments, and the strata integrity and preservation of organic materials, especially charcoal and microscopic residues on stone tools, are exceptional (Fullagar & David, 1997).
Some volcanic events that were sufficiently powerful to send material around the globe have left a signature in many different cores that can be used to synchronise their time scales.
Ice cores have been studied since the early 20th century, and several cores were drilled as a result of the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958).
For the period beyond 30 ka there are no paired C/optical dates available for Australia, partly as the a result of the rarity of sites containing the appropriate sediments and charcoal.
The deposit in the rock shelter is shallow but finely stratified, with 27 distinct strata over a depth of 43.5 cm, the cultural material being in the top 35.7 cm.
The dates obtained for the site are 21 C dates (accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and 4 radiocarbon dates by beta-counting.
In Ngarrabullgan Cave* in north Queensland there are deposits rich in charcoal within a sandy matrix rich in silica that has allowed the obtaining of 2 Pleistocene optical age determinations.
* The spelling of Ngarrabullgan has changed over time (Nurrabullgin, Ngarrabullgin) as a result of instructions from elders of the local Aboriginals.