July 13, 2020


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Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land, Australia

Australia’s to start with plant foodstuff – eaten by early populations sixty five,000 decades ago...

Australia’s to start with plant foodstuff – eaten by early populations sixty five,000 decades ago – have been identified in Arnhem Land.

Preserved as pieces of charcoal, the morsels ended up recovered from the debris of historic cooking hearths at the Madjedbebe archaeological web page, on Mirarr region in northern Australia.

College of Queensland archaeobotanist Anna Florin explained a crew of archaeologists and Traditional House owners identified ten plant foodstuff, like a number of styles of fruits and nuts, underground storage organs (‘roots and tubers’), and palm stem.

“By performing with Elders and co-authors May well Nango and Djaykuk Djandjomerr, the crew was also able to describe how the vegetation ended up most likely utilised at Madjedbebe,” Ms Florin explained.

“Numerous of these plant foodstuff required processing to make them edible and this proof was complemented by grinding stone technological innovation also utilised for the duration of early profession at the web page.”

“The To start with Australians experienced a wonderful deal of botanical information and this was one of the points that authorized them to adapt to and prosper in this new surroundings.

“They ended up able to assurance accessibility to carbohydrates, excess fat and even protein by applying this information, as effectively as technological innovation and labour, to the accumulating and processing of Australian plant foodstuff.”

Madjedbebe is a sandstone rock shelter at the base of the Arnhem Land escarpment, and is Australia’s oldest documented web page.

Excavation director Professor Chris Clarkson from UQ’s School of Social Science explained he was amazed and delighted by the amount of archaeobotanical proof recovered from the web page.

“Madjedbebe proceeds to present startling insights into the sophisticated and dynamic life-style of the earliest Australian Aboriginal people,” Professor Clarkson explained.

The oldest profession layer at Madjedbebe also retains proof for the oldest edge ground stone axes in the world, the earliest grindstone technological innovation outdoors Africa, the early shaping of stone spearheads, numerous kilograms of ground ochre, and the to start with recorded use of reflective pigments in the world.

“The web page is an significant cultural place to Mirarr people nowadays who attempt to defend their heritage from many threats, like mining,” Ms Florin explained.

Justin O’Brien, CEO of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation which represents the Mirarr Traditional House owners, explained that exploration on region – performing in meaningful partnership with Traditional House owners – was a potent way to share Mirarr’s enduring society with a broader audience.

The study is printed in Character Communications (DOI: ten.1038/s41467-020-14723-).


This was a joint study with contributors from The College of Queensland, Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, the College of Wollongong, Max Planck Institute,College of Washington, National Museum of Australia, and Griffith College. The study was funded by the Australian Research Council, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and the Dan David Foundation.

Media: Anna Florin, [email protected], +61 432 689 226 Professor Chris Clarkson, [email protected], +61 7 3365 2780.

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