2017-05-19 21:31:09 UTC
Aust coastal occupation '50,000 years old'
"Indigenous people lived along Australia's coast about 50,000 years ago,
archaeologists say, after discovering dietary remains on an island off
The remains in a cave on Barrow Island, about 50km off the Pilbara
coast, provide the earliest evidence of the coastal occupation of
Australia, says Professor Peter Veth, the study's lead archaeologist
from the University of Western Australia.
"We've actually got very firm evidence of people living on the coast
that we didn't have before," he said.
"The cave was used predominantly as a hunting shelter about 50,000 and
30,000 years ago before becoming a residential base for family groups
after 10,000 years ago."
Prof Veth said the occupation of coastal Australia had previously been
dated to about 40,000 years ago.
"A third of the continent has been flooded since the last ice age and we
reasonably expect the earliest evidence of occupation to be underwater,"
Researchers from Australia and the US found well-preserved remains of
animals including shellfish and kangaroos in the limestone cave.
Between 2013 and 2015, the team used what's know as luminescence
technique, which dates the last time that sediment surrounding the
remains was exposed to sunlight."