First confirmed underwater Aboriginal archaeological sites found off Australian coast

Historic submerged Aboriginal archaeological websites await underwater rediscovery off the coastline of Australia, in accordance to a study released July one, 2020 in the open up-accessibility journal PLOS A person by Jonathan Benjamin of Flinders College, Adelaide, Australia and colleagues.

At the conclude of the Ice Age, sea level was substantially decrease than these days, and the Australian coastline was one hundred sixty kilometers farther offshore. When the ice receded and sea level rose to its latest level, somewhere around two million sq. kilometers of Australian land grew to become submerged where Aboriginal peoples experienced previously lived. Thus, it is probably that numerous historical Aboriginal websites are at the moment underwater.

In this study, Benjamin and colleagues report the benefits of several subject strategies concerning 2017-2019 for the duration of which they used a collection of strategies for finding and investigating submerged archaeological websites, such as aerial and underwater remote sensing technologies as well as direct investigation by divers. They investigated two websites off the Murujuga coastline of northwest Australia. In Cape Bruguieres Channel, divers identified 269 artefacts dating to at the very least seven,000 decades outdated, and a single artefact was identified in a freshwater spring in Flying Foam Passage, dated to at the very least eight,500 decades outdated. These are the first verified underwater archaeological websites uncovered on Australia’s continental shelf.

These conclusions demonstrate the utility of these exploratory strategies for finding submerged archaeological websites. The authors hope that these strategies can be expanded on in the future for systematic recovery and investigation of historical Aboriginal cultural artefacts. They further urge that future exploration will rely not only on thorough and safe and sound scientific procedures, but also on laws to protect and handle Aboriginal cultural heritage along the Australian coastline.

Benjamin claims, “Controlling, investigating and understanding the archaelogy of the Australian continental shelf in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander common owners and custodians is 1 of the previous frontiers in Australian archaeology.” He adds, “Our benefits stand for the first step in a journey of discovery to check out the likely of archaeology on the continental cabinets which can fill a main gap 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 reveal historical drowned cultural landscapes in northwest Australia. PLoS A person 15(seven): e0233912.

Funding: The Deep Background of Sea State project staff (all authors) were being supported by the Australian Exploration Council’s Discovery Initiatives funding scheme (DP170100812), with supplementary support from the Murujuga: Dynamics of the Dreaming Undertaking (LP140100393), Flinders College and the Hackett Basis of Adelaide and ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CE170100015). The funders experienced no part in study style and design, info selection and evaluation, choice to publish, or planning of the manuscript.

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

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