Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "australia"

Graffiti is easy to spot in every Australian city but archaeologists are viewing it with fresh eyes.

From convicts to drovers, to today’s street artists, graffiti has a long history in Australia and archaeologists are only starting to study it as a continuous body of work.

Australians have been etching their thoughts on walls since Indigenous people began drawing on rocks and caves.

Archaeologist Ursula Frederick, from the Australian National University, is one of a group of archaeologists collecting the evidence. Read more.

Archaeologists have found artefacts dating back 45,000 years in a cave in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Animal bones and charcoal have been dug up in the Ganga Maya Cave, known to traditional owners of the land as “house on the hill”, and is now believed to be the earliest human settlement in Australia.

However Kate Morse, Director of Archaeology at Fremantle heritage consultancy Big Island Research, has said it is too early in the excavation process to officially determine the site’s significance. Read more.

Rock art in Western Australia’s Pilbara region believed to be up to 60,000 years old has been attacked by vandals.

Tourist guide and Ngarluma man Clinton Walker said he had discovered a defaced piece of rock art on the Burrup Peninsula in Murujuga National Park.

"Someone has actually etched into a rock right above where some of the rock art is and wrote: ‘go and work for a living’," he said.

The Burrup Peninsula is home to the world’s biggest collection of Aboriginal rock art and gained national heritage listing in 2007.

Greens MP Robin Chapple said he was shocked and disappointed to learn of the fresh vandalism reports. Read more.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Archaeologists say remains of a rare, circular 1850s prison block unearthed at the former Pentridge Prison is of world significance in penal history.

The public will next month be able to view the extraordinary bluestone foundations of the panopticon, shaped like a Trivial Pursuit token, which experts say is one of the few examples of its type to survive.

It was part of a brutal 19th-century movement to keep prisoners in solitary contemplation, under total surveillance.

Pentridge had three: this one, next to A Division on the north of the site is the first to be unearthed. Later in May, excavation will start on two more next to B Division to the south. Read more.

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.