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'A big jump': People might have lived in Australia twice as long as we thought

8 156 5258
11.03.2019

Extensive archaeological research in southern Victoria has again raised the prospect that people have lived in Australia for 120,000 years – twice as long as the broadly accepted period of human continental habitation.

The research, with its contentious potential implications for Indigenous habitation of the continent that came to be Australia, has been presented to the Royal Society of Victoria by a group of academics including Jim Bowler, the eminent 88-year-old archaeologist who in 1969 and 1974 discovered the bones of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, the oldest human remains found in Australia.

Mungo Man, his remains discovered in a dry water bed in the Willandra Lakes district of New South Wales, lived some 42,000 years ago. He was a modern human or homo sapien, Indigenous to Australia, who was buried with sophisticated funerary rites including the use of fire and ochre.

Earlier contentious scientific research that pointed to human habitation in Australia up to 120,000 years ago – including in the Kimberley – has been largely dismissed.

The new research at Moyjil (Point Ritchie), at the mouth of the Hopkins River at Warrnambool, south-east Victoria, relates to the presence of fire, small black stones and scattered shell middens around steep cliffs.

The research is presented in an article, released by CSIRO publishing, titled The Moyjil Site, South-West Victoria, Australia: Fire And Environment In A 120,000-Year Coastal Midden – Nature or People. Its co-authors are David Price from the University of Wollongong, John Sherwood from Deakin University and Stephen Carey from Federation University,........

© The Guardian