Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "australia"

Purposely sharpened or ‘retouched’ stone axes evolved in Australia thousands of years before they appeared in Europe according to researchers studying the south-east Asian archaeological record.

They found 30,000-year-old flakes from ground-edged axes at a site near Windjana Gorge in the central Kimberley.

In a recent paper with Professor Sue O’Connor, UWA archaeologist Jane Balme says the evidence collected challenges common assumptions about paleolithic innovations.

"The suggestion that all innovation has to come from the Old World is not true because clearly ground-stone axes were created here," Prof Balme says. Read more.

The discovery of a Portuguese manuscript purporting to include an illustration of a kangaroo has been used to question which European power was first to “discover” Australia.

The drawing is included in a pocket-sized religious manuscript, dated at between 1580 and 1620, and has widely been described as a kangaroo in various media reports.

The Les Enluminures gallery that holds the manuscript, currently for sale, first fuelled the Australian debate with its description of the illustration:

Of particular interest are the images reflecting Portuguese exploration, including a kangaroo or wallaby, and two small male figures, possibly natives of Australia or elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Read more.

An old swivel gun found on a remote Northern Territory beach in 2010 had been lying on the seabed for as long as 250 years, new dating tests show.

Scientists say this suggests that there was previously unknown foreign contact with Australian shores before Captain Cook discovered Australia in 1770.

A Darwin boy discovered the bronze cannon at Dundee Beach. southwest of Darwin, in 2010.

Christopher Doukas found the 107cm-long gun, an anti-personnel light artillery piece, buried in the sand during an unusually low tide.

Australian scientist Tim Stone says the find will help re-write the nation’s history. Read more.

A series of reviews of Australian archaeological studies is helping to formulate a theory of how and when people occupied various parts of the continent, including WA’s Kimberley region.

"We’ve basically pulled in radiocarbon data from every site in Australia I can get my hands on, so we’ve got about five and a half thousand dates," Archaeologist Alan Williams from Australian National University says.

"We are using those as a proxy for human activity.

"Every time we find a date it’s usually in the cooking pit or a burial or a midden or something that’s got humans there doing something at that point."

In a paper just published, he says certain well-watered locations acted as refugia during the last Glacial Maximum, when cold arid conditions caused people to vacate large parts of Australia about 21,000 years ago. Read more.

WHEN police were called to reports of human remains found on a river bank they prepared themselves for a grim murder investigation.

But their CSI-style detective work has deepened the mystery - and questioned whether Captain Cook really was the first white man to set foot on the east coast of Australia.

The cold case began in November 2011 when a perfectly intact skull was found at Manning Point, near Taree, on the state’s north coast.

Police were called in and an anthropologist said it possibly belonged to a young female. But further scientific testing - the results of which came back last week - revealed the skull to be a white male, with an 80 per cent chance of it dating back to the 1600s, decades before Captain James Cook arrived aboard Endeavour. Read more.

Five copper coins and a nearly 70-year-old map with an ‘‘X’’ might lead to a discovery that could rewrite Australia’s history.

Australian scientist Ian McIntosh, currently Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University in the US, plans an expedition in July that has stirred up the archaeological community.

The scientist wants to revisit the location where five coins were found in the Northern Territory in 1944 that have proven to be 1000 years old, opening up the possibility that seafarers from distant countries might have landed in Australia much earlier than what is currently believed.

Back in 1944 during World War II, after Japanese bombers had attacked Darwin two years earlier, the Wessel Islands - an uninhabited group of islands off Australia’s north coast - had become a strategic position to help protect the mainland.

Australian soldier Maurie Isenberg was stationed on one of the islands to man a radar station and spent his spare time fishing on the idyllic beaches.

While sitting in the sand with his fishing-rod, he discovered a handful of coins in the sand. Read more.

Australia’s colonization may have been an organized affair rather than an accident, a new analysis suggests.

Some 50,000 years ago, aboriginal human settlers arrived on the continent, but how many people it took to found Australia’s population is unknown. The new study, published Tuesday (April 23) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that about 1,000 to 3,000 individuals originally landed on Australia’s shores.

"This is largely speculative, but I think this suggests something more than accidental colonization by a small group on a raft of vegetation or other unplanned voyage," study researcher Alan Williams, a doctoral candidate at The Australian National University, wrote in an email. "For me, this suggests a deliberate attempt at exploration (if not migration) more akin to those we see in the recent past from Hawaii and other Pacific islands." Read more.

SYDNEY — Ancient Indians migrated to Australia and mixed with Aborigines 4,000 years ago, bringing the dingo’s ancestor with them, according to new research that re-evaluates the continent’s long isolation before European settlement.

The vast southern continent was thought to have been cut off from other populations until Europeans landed at the end of the 1700s, but the latest genetic and archaeological evidence throws that theory out.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, reported “evidence of substantial gene flow between Indian populations and Australia about 4,000 years ago”.

They analysed genetic variations across the genome from Australian Aborigines to New Guineans, Southeast Asians, and Indians, including Dravidian speakers from the south. Read more.