August 7, 2020


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First confirmed underwater Aboriginal archaeological sites found off Australian coast

Historic submerged Aboriginal archaeological web pages await underwater rediscovery off the coastline of Australia, according...

Historic submerged Aboriginal archaeological web pages await underwater rediscovery off the coastline of Australia, according to a research published July one, 2020 in the open up-entry journal PLOS One particular by Jonathan Benjamin of Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia and colleagues.

At the end of the Ice Age, sea stage was considerably decreased than nowadays, and the Australian shoreline was 160 kilometers farther offshore. When the ice receded and sea stage rose to its latest stage, roughly two million square kilometers of Australian land became submerged wherever Aboriginal peoples had previously lived. Hence, it is most likely that many ancient Aboriginal web pages are now underwater.

In this research, Benjamin and colleagues report the results of a number of industry strategies concerning 2017-2019 during which they applied a collection of approaches for locating and investigating submerged archaeological web pages, including aerial and underwater distant sensing technologies as properly as immediate investigation by divers. They investigated two web pages off the Murujuga shoreline of northwest Australia. In Cape Bruguieres Channel, divers identified 269 artefacts dating to at least 7,000 yrs outdated, and a solitary artefact was identified in a freshwater spring in Traveling Foam Passage, dated to at least 8,five hundred yrs outdated. These are the to start with confirmed underwater archaeological web pages observed on Australia’s continental shelf.

These findings exhibit the utility of these exploratory approaches for locating submerged archaeological web pages. The authors hope that these approaches can be expanded upon in the upcoming for systematic recovery and investigation of ancient Aboriginal cultural artefacts. They further more urge that upcoming exploration will depend not only on very careful and protected scientific techniques, but also on legislation to safeguard and regulate Aboriginal cultural heritage along the Australian shoreline.

Benjamin claims, “Taking care of, investigating and knowing the archaelogy of the Australian continental shelf in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander standard proprietors and custodians is a person of the very last frontiers in Australian archaeology.” He provides, “Our results depict the to start with phase in a journey of discovery to explore the potential of archaeology on the continental cabinets which can fill a significant hole in the human historical past of the continent.”


Quotation: Benjamin J, O’Leary M, McDonald J, Wiseman C, McCarthy J, Beckett E, et al. (2020) Aboriginal artefacts on the continental shelf expose ancient drowned cultural landscapes in northwest Australia. PLoS One particular 15(7): e0233912.

Funding: The Deep Record of Sea Place project group (all authors) had been supported by the Australian Investigation Council’s Discovery Jobs funding scheme (DP170100812), with supplementary assistance from the Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming Venture (LP140100393), Flinders University and the Hackett Foundation of Adelaide and ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CE170100015). The funders had no job in research style, info assortment and investigation, choice to publish, or preparing of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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