Orientations of linear stone arrangements in New South Wales

19th December 2012

Robert Fuller surveys a stone arrangement in Armidale, NSW (left) and Duane Hamacher examines a small stone circle at Dungowan, NSW (right) (photographs courtesy of D. Hamacher and T. Britton).

Robert Fuller surveys a stone arrangement in Armidale, NSW (left) and Duane Hamacher examines a small stone circle at Dungowan, NSW (right) (photographs courtesy of D. Hamacher and T. Britton).

Duane W. Hamacher, Robert S. Fuller & Ray P. Norris

We test the hypothesis that Aboriginal linear stone arrangements in New South Wales are oriented along cardinal directions. We accomplish this by measuring the azimuths of stone arrangements described on site cards held in the New South Wales Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System. We find a preference recorded on the site cards for cardinal orientations among azimuths. We then survey a subset of these sites to test the accuracy of the information recorded on the site cards. The field surveys show that the site cards are reasonably accurate, but the surveyors probably did not correct for magnetic declinations. Using Monte Carlo statistics, we show that these preferred orientations did not occur by chance and that Aboriginal people deliberately aligned these arrangements to the approximate cardinal directions. We briefly explore possible reasons for these preferred orientations and highlight the need for future work.

Hamacher, D.W., R.S. Fuller and R.P. Norris
Orientations of linear stone arrangements in New South Wales
2012
75
46-54
Article
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