Aboriginal Campsite Discovered at Ormeau

Between May to July 2021, Jabree conducted an archaeological investigation at 248 Eggersdorf Road in Ormeau. This project was completed following engagement by Avid Properties Australia Pty Ltd. After 23 artefacts were collected during the preliminary assessment of the lot, two areas within the lot were identified as having high potential for containing further Aboriginal cultural heritage material. Further subsurface investigation yielded an additional 460 Aboriginal cultural heritage artefacts and two pieces of red ochre. The Eggersdorf Road site has since been classified as a highly significant, long-term Middle-Late Holocene Aboriginal campsite where a range of manufacturing, domestic and ceremonial activities may have occurred.

The ochre found within the Eggersdorf Road site, and the close location to the Pimpama Bora Ring and grounds (within two kilometres), suggest a possible linkage between these two sites and the traditional pathways used to access them. Bora grounds were highly significant cultural sites used for initiations and sacred cultural practices at which people from surrounding clans regularly gathered (Aird 1992). Ochre is typically indicative of ceremonial and ritualistic activities such as these.  

Among the collection of stone backed artefacts, cores, flakes and a scraper, a burin and possible bungwall pounder were also located. Bungwall pounders were traditionally used during the Mid-Late Holocene period to process plants for food, primarily fernroot rhizomes, referred to as “bungwall” in the Aboriginal language (Gillieson and Hall 1982). Another key, and unique, finding within the Eggersdorf Road site was a glass artefact thought to be a possible Aboriginal knapping flake fragment. The possibility of this fragment being a modern discard item has been explored by Jabree, however it shares technological attributes with intentional stone artefact manipulation and is therefore considered to be a likely Aboriginal artefact at this time. There have been previous instances of glass Aboriginal artefacts, and it is suggested that it is a desirable material resulting in sharp edges perfect for cutting, scraping or composite tool barbs (Goward 2011). The occurrence of a possible glass flake fragment indicates the site may have been occupied and used by Aboriginal people during, and/or following, European contact in the area (Veth and O’ Connor 2005; Harrison 2005).

Image – A selection of artefacts from Area D of the Eggersdorf Road project are, including the possible glass flake fragment (middle, third row).

The findings at this site and the past activities interpreted from these provide yet another example of the history and cultural significance of the local area and region. The evidence of potential interconnection and relationship between this site and other significant sites in the area also contributes important cultural context regionally.  

Featured image: Area A of the Eggersdorf Road project, facing east.


Aird, M 1992 Traditional Lifestyles and Recent History of Southeast Queensland Aborigines (A Literature Analysis) prepared for Ngutana-Lui the Aboriginal & Islander Cultural Studies Centre Catholic Education.  

Gillieson, D. and J. Hall 1982 Bevelling Bungwall bashers: a use-wear study from southeast Queensland. Australian Archaeology 18:43-61.    

Goward, T. 2011 Aboriginal glass artefacts of the Sydney region. Unpublished honours thesis, University of Sydney.   

Veth, P. and S. O’Connor 2005 Archaeology, claimant connection to sites, and Native Title: Employment of successful categories of data with specific comments on glass artifacts. Australian Aboriginal Studies: 2-15.

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