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Keywords:

  • AUSTRALIA;
  • JINMIUM ROCK SHELTER;
  • OPTICAL DATING;
  • QUARTZ SEDIMENTS;
  • SINGLE GRAINS;
  • STATISTICAL MODELS;
  • HUMAN OCCUPATION;
  • ROCK ART

Jinmium rock shelter is famous for the claims made by Fullagar et al. (1996) for the early human colonization and ancient rock art of northern Australia. These claims were based on thermo-luminescence ages obtained for the artefact-bearing quartz sediments that form the floor deposit at the site. In this paper, we outline the background to the optical dating programme at Jinmium, and describe the experimental design and statistical methods used to obtain optical ages from single grains of quartz sand. The results, interpretations, and implications of this dating programme are reported in a companion paper (Roberts et al. 7999, this volume).