australian archaeology

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Over the past week I have been on an archaeological/paleontological dig in Victoria, Australia. Here, I assisted a honours student by doing some bone abrasion cataloguing to test the validity of the scale we have now. This was done on bones that had been recovered previously on the dig, from the pes of Macropus titan giganteus. 

Prehistoric Aboriginal rock art at the Mutawintji National Park, NSW, Australia. For 1000s of years Mutawintji was a highly important spiritual meeting place in Australia, and its rock art dates from over 8,000 years ago. The handprint stencils shown above were created by placing one’s hand on the rock, and spitting yellow or red ochre from their mouth.

Photo taken by Beppie.

World's oldest axe discovered in Australia is 49,000-years-old

The world’s oldest axe has been discovered in Australia, dating back to 49,000 years ago. Researchers said the discovery could help reveal when axes were first invented, something archaeologists have been studying for decades.

In most countries, axes were first developed after the emergence of agriculture, around 10,000 years ago, according to scientists. In Japan, the earliest axes appeared about 35,000 years ago. However, archaeologists have now found an axe believed to be up to 14,000 years older at Windjana Gorge National Park, Western Australia.

Researchers from the Australian National University dated the axe fragment, first discovered in the early 1990s, to between 46,000 and 49,000 years. “This is the earliest evidence of hafted axes [axes with handles] in the world,” said Sue O'Connor, lead archaeologist of the study published in Australian Archaeology. “Nowhere else in the world do you get axes at this date.” Read more.