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The death of Kaakutja: a case of peri-mortem weapon trauma in an Aboriginal man from north-western New South Wales, Australia

  • Michael Westaway (a1), Douglas Williams (a2), Richard Wright (a3), Rachel Wood (a4), Jon Olley (a5), Jaime Swift (a6), Sarah Martin (a7), Justine Kemp (a5), Shane Rolton (a8) and William Bates (a9)...

Skeletal remains from a burial in New South Wales exhibit evidence of fatal trauma, of a kind normally indicative of sharp metal weapons, yet the burial dates to the mid thirteenth century—600 years before European settlers reached the area. Could sharp-edged wooden weapons from traditional Aboriginal culture inflict injuries similar to those resulting from later, metal blades? Analysis indicates that the wooden weapons known as ‘Lil-lils’ and the fighting boomerangs (‘Wonna’) both have blades that could fit within the dimensions of the major trauma and are capable of having caused the fatal wounds.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
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Westaway supplementary material 1

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