Ancient Aboriginal artefacts have been found off the coast of Western Australia

Jul 02, 2020

By SBS Australia 

Underwater Aboriginal archaeological sites have been discovered off Western Australia's north for the first time, dating back thousands of years when the current seabed was dry land.

Hundreds of stone tools including grinding stones were discovered in the Dampier Archipelago off the Pilbara coast by a team of Australian and British archaeologists, partnered with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation.

Flinders University associate professor Jonathan Benjamin said more than 30 per cent of Australia's massive land mass was inundated when sea levels rose after the last ice age, hiding a huge amount of ancient artefacts.

"Now we finally have the first proof that at least some of this archaeological evidence survived the process," he said.

Radiocarbon dating and analysis of sea-level changes show the first site at Cape Bruguieres is at least 7000 years old while the second site at Flying Foam Passage is at least 8500 years old.

Flinders University's Chelsea Wiseman, who has worked on the project as part of PhD research, said dry land stretched out 160km from the current shoreline at one point and would have been lived on by generations of Aboriginal people.

"Although these sites are located in relatively shallow water, there will likely be more in deeper water offshore," she said.

The researchers say the discoveries highlight the need for stronger federal legislation to protect underwater heritage.

The post about “Ancient Aboriginal artefacts have been found off the coast of Western Australia" first appeared on the SBS Australia website.


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