Monday, June 14, 2010


I see them as little unexpected treasures and remnants of a culture many thousands of years old in a busy 21st century world. Aboriginal tools made by chipping or grinding a hard stone to make a cutting edge, be it for an axe, a cutting or a scrapping tool. They are usually quite easy to spot once you have a knowledge that they exist. I have found simply noticing a stone that is 'different'  from the stones and rock you usually see in the area can be a good indication to look a bit closer. One of the 'unusual' stones that caught my eye today lying just off a walking track next to the Murrumbidgee River was quartz (none for miles).

Stone artifact scatters are surprisingly common in the Australian Capital Territory and are found wherever aboriginal occupation once occurred. Artifacts are often found in the area around rivers or wherever there is a fresh supply of water, however, I have found them in locations away from the river as well. A 'scatter' can be a single stone or varying multiples of artifacts and owing to the unique crafting of each piece and the variance in materials, no two scatters are the same. High density scatters can have several hundred artifacts covering several hectares.

Remember that these scatters are evidence of an occupation thousands of years longer than European 'settlement'. The artifact could originate from the simple 'loss' of a tool in the past or an indication of intensive habitation over centuries. Bushfire and/or drought, rabbit warrens, stock grazing, road grading and erosion from weather can reveal an artifact(s) scatter or any disturbance that exposes an older land surface.

A walk down to the river today with the dog culminated in a pleasant surprise for me. A small scatter of four artifacts, 1 quartz with a sharp edge, one black river pebble with a 'ground' cutting edge, and two the same of coarse granite like stone. I decided to try taking a video with my phone but I am unsure of the quality, first time for me and this weblog.

Aboriginal artifact scatter

30 Second video

The ACT Government -
Department of Territory and Municipal Services have info (here).

And yes, I left them there...

View Larger Map

1 comment:

  1. Good finds Dave, well done. They would work well for flint and steel fire lighting also.


History lost through lack of funding

  The following ABC article laments the possible loss of many historical audio visual records that are waiting for digitising into modern fo...