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Emigration to Australia began 50,000 years ago

07 November 2016 by News Desk

Emigration to Australia began almost 10,000 years earlier than previously thought according to latest scientific discoveries.

Emigration to AustraliaEmigration to Australia involving early humans started in Australia’s desert interior around 49,000 years ago according to new discoveries by Aussie scientists.

Latest findings by researchers at the University of Adelaide show that humans occupied Australia’s arid interior and began developing sophisticated tools far earlier than previously thought.

Discoveries at the Warratyi Rock Shelter in the desert region of northern South Australia reveal the oldest evidence of Aboriginal occupation in South Australia.

The study suggests that people settled in the arid interior within a few millennia of arriving on the continent and shows that they developed key technologies and cultural practices much earlier than previously thought for Australia and Southeast Asia.

Emigration to Australia began 50,000 years ago

The discoveries show that humans occupied the site from 49,000 to 46,000 years ago and that objects recovered from the various layers of sediment represent the earliest-known use in Australia of various technologies including: worked bone tools (40,000-38,000 years ago), stone tools modified for attaching to a handle (30,000-24,000 years ago) and the use of red ochre as pigment (49,000-46,000) and gypsum (40,000-33,000 years ago).

The University of Adelaide researchers – Dr Arnold, Adjunct Professor Nigel Spooner and Ms Daniele Questiaux – undertook the dating aspects of the study.

“One of the key strengths of this study is the chronology, which has typically proved to be a contentious issue at early archaeological sites in Australia, says Dr Arnold, ARC Future Fellow with the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute. “We have used a range of complementary dating techniques and targeted different types of materials to ensure that the age of the site is reliably known.”

The OSL dating research was conducted at the University of Adelaide’s Prescott Environmental Luminescence Laboratory – one of the largest and best equipment dating laboratories in the world in this field.

“The Warratyi Rock Shelter is a remarkable discovery, showing aboriginal settlement of the Australian arid zone long before the last ice age and contemporaneous with iconic Australian megafauna, and revealing an innovative material culture, including the utilisation of ochre pigments, much earlier than previously recorded for Australia and Southeast Asia,” says Professor Spooner.

For more details go to University of Adelaide

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