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First confirmed underwater Aboriginal archaeological sites found off Australian coast

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Historic submerged Aboriginal archaeological websites await underwater rediscovery off the coast of Australia, in accordance with a research printed July 1, 2020 within the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jonathan Benjamin of Flinders College, Adelaide, Australia and colleagues.

On the finish of the Ice Age, sea degree was a lot decrease than at this time, and the Australian shoreline was 160 kilometers farther offshore. When the ice receded and sea degree rose to its present degree, roughly two million sq. kilometers of Australian land grew to become submerged the place Aboriginal peoples had beforehand lived. Thus, it’s probably that many historical Aboriginal websites are presently underwater.

On this research, Benjamin and colleagues report the outcomes of a number of subject campaigns between 2017-2019 throughout which they utilized a sequence of methods for finding and investigating submerged archaeological websites, together with aerial and underwater distant sensing applied sciences in addition to direct investigation by divers. They investigated two websites off the Murujuga shoreline of northwest Australia. In Cape Bruguieres Channel, divers recognized 269 artefacts relationship to not less than 7,000 years outdated, and a single artefact was recognized in a freshwater spring in Flying Foam Passage, dated to not less than eight,500 years outdated. These are the primary confirmed underwater archaeological websites discovered on Australia’s continental shelf.

These findings exhibit the utility of those exploratory methods for finding submerged archaeological websites. The authors hope that these methods could be expanded upon sooner or later for systematic restoration and investigation of historical Aboriginal cultural artefacts. They additional urge that future exploration will rely not solely on cautious and protected scientific procedures, but in addition on laws to guard and handle Aboriginal cultural heritage alongside the Australian shoreline.

Benjamin says, “Managing, investigating and understanding the archaelogy of the Australian continental shelf in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander conventional homeowners and custodians is among the final frontiers in Australian archaeology.” He provides, “Our outcomes characterize step one in a journey of discovery to discover the potential of archaeology on the continental cabinets which might fill a significant hole within the human historical past of the continent.”

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Supplies supplied by PLOS. Be aware: Content material could also be edited for fashion and size.

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