The mystery of Narrabeen Man

Step 4: Develop interpretations

What happened to Narrabeen Man? (Task 5)

For Task 5, refer to Investigation kit: the mystery of Narrabeen Man (PDF, 731 KB).

Task 5 prompts students to think critically about the information they have found and develop interpretations that are supported by evidence.

They may agree with interpretations provided by the experts or develop their own interpretations. All interpretations must be supported by relevant evidence.


  • Encourage students to critically evaluate the experts' interpretations: if they agree, they must say why they agree; if they disagree, they must say why they disagree.
  • Encourage students to think creatively and develop their own interpretations of what happened to Narrabeen Man. Again, they must support their interpretation with evidence.
  • Extend students' thinking by asking:
    • What don't we know about the death of Narrabeen Man?
    • What else would you like to find out about the death of Narrabeen Man?
    • How could you find out this information?

A note on the stone artefacts and 'death spear'

The small stone artefacts that were found embedded in the vertebrae of the skeleton are called 'backed artefacts' by archaeologists. The term is used in the Catalyst videos and the academic publications but not in the learning activities as it could be confusing for Year 7 students. According to Dr Val Attenbrow of The Australian Museum, this type of spear went out of use around 1500 years ago. The example of the so-called 'death spear' you see in the Catalyst program is a modern replica.