When archaeology and geology combine

Damien Finch is a PhD candidate at the School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne and is a member of the KFA’s Rock Art Dating team. 

How mud wasp nests help delve into our country’s past.

We all appreciate a warm, secure home to go to at the end of the day, and so do mud wasps. They build intricate structures from mud where they lay their eggs, giving their young a safe and comfy place to start their lives. They collect mud from a nearby source, working it into a ball or pellet with their forelegs and mandibles. Often the pellets are as big as the wasp’s head, yet they’re able to fly it to their preferred nesting site, often metres off the ground.

Mud wasp nests are useful for us, too. Archaeologists and geoscientists, along with the Traditional Owners of the region, have teamed up to develop methods for dating Aboriginal rock art found in rock shelters in the Kimberley…

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