A team of international archaeologists has confirmed evidence from a remote cave in Australia’s North West that pushes back human occupation of Australia to around 50,000 years ago. The discovery is of international significance in providing one of the earliest age brackets for the settlement of Australia. It also has the longest record of dietary fauna providing unprecedented insights into the lifeways of the earliest Australians.
Lead archaeologist Professor Peter Veth, from The University of Western Australia, said the findings provided unique evidence for the early and successful adaptation of Aboriginal people to both coastal and desert landscapes of Australia.
“This site contains cultural materials clearly associated with dates in the order of 50,000 years,” Professor Veth said. “This pushes back the age of occupation from the previous and more conservative limit of 47,000 years ago. Even older dates are entirely plausible.”
The team focused on Barrow Island, which provides a unique window into the now-drowned North-West Shelf of Australia. Barrow Island is a large limestone island located 60 km off the Pilbara coast of Western Australia.
University of Western Australia