Aboriginal tools dated at 35,000 years discovered in Australia

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Melbourne, Apr 7 (UNI) Archaeologists have unearthed 35,000-year-old cutting tools used by Aborigines in Australia.

The tools found in Pilbara mine site in Western Australia are among the oldest so far discovered in the country. Archaeologists believe the dig could yield material up to 40,000 years old, comparable with the internationally famous Lake Mungo Man discovery in New South Wales. The discovery shows that Aborigines lived in the area for more than 1000 generations.

''The oldest-dated stone artefacts are a core and associated flakes that have a radiocarbon age estimate of 35,000 years,'' said Dr Draper, Managing Director of Australian Cultural Heritage Management Ltd.

''There are at least 12 stone artefacts buried up to 10 centimetres below the 35,000 year date, inferring the site is much older. We do not know the age of the earliest artefacts, but based on the rock shelter stratigraphy, it is likely around 40,000 years.'' Traces of organic material on the tools could provide evidence of prehistoric food supplies and climate change when further testing is complete. The reason why these findings are significant is because they demonstrate the way early Aboriginal people manufactured stone artefacts, the Age reported.

Recent government statistics counted approximately 400,000 aboriginal people, or about 2 per cent of Australia's total population.

Australian Aborigines migrated from somewhere in Asia at least 30,000 years ago. Though they comprise 500-600 distinct groups, aboriginal people possess some unifying links. Among these are strong spiritual beliefs that tie them to the land; a tribal culture of storytelling and art; and, like other indigenous populations, a difficult colonial history.

UNI XC ARB GC1805

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