Note on authorisation: The two HEH authors hold all rights to the work. The study was undertaken as part of a BHP Billiton contract. BHP Billiton has approved publication of this material.
Prehistoric mining at Olympic Dam in arid South Australia
Article first published online: 4 SEP 2013
© 2013 Oceania Publications
Archaeology in Oceania
Volume 49, Issue 1, pages 43–55, April 2014
How to Cite
Sullivan, M., Hughes, P., Way, A. M. and Spooner, N. (2014), Prehistoric mining at Olympic Dam in arid South Australia. Archaeology in Oceania, 49: 43–55. doi: 10.1002/arco.5022
- Issue published online: 1 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 4 SEP 2013
- BHP Billiton
- prehistoric mining;
- optical dating;
A site in the Olympic Dam area, recorded during archaeological surveying as a silcrete quarry, was investigated. Hand-excavated squares and subsequent machine-excavated trenches revealed an ancient “mine” rather than a simple surface quarry. Blocks of high-quality silcrete were levered from below the ground surface and many were knapped in the immediate area. Rubble in the pit backfills included large numbers of flakes. Single-grain optical dates from sediments in the backfilled pits demonstrate that the silcrete “mining” occurred during a short period in the late Holocene.