The use of archaeology in the study of the Aboriginal and European encounter in Australia has been largely neglected. Although some research has specifically looked at the adoption of new materials by Aborigines in the contact period (Cooper 1979, Wickman 1993), little has been directed to placing the archaeological record into a wider interpretive framework. This study concerns the effects of European settlement on Aboriginal economy in the Canberra Region during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Historical evidence will be used to suggest how the Aboriginal economy may have changed over time during the contact period, and a consideration will be made of the possible implications for the archaeological record. The archaeology will be examined in light of this evidence, and its contribution to the understanding of contact history in the Canberra Region assessed.
In discussing the changes in Aboriginal economy during the contact period, Chapter 1 will first consider Aboriginal land tenure and subsistence in the Canberra Region before the arrival of white settlers. This is followed in Chapter 2 by a brief history of Aboriginal and European encounter. In Chapter 3, historical and other evidence will be used in an hypothetical discussion concerning the factors affecting the location and composition of Aboriginal occupation sites during the contact period, whereas in Chapter 4 the archaeological record will be examined. The results of this study are summarised in Chapter 5.