Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ancient Tools Found in Australia

NG is reporting the discovery of 35,000 year old stone and flint tools and knives in Western Austalia, some of the oldest human artifacts found on the continent, and aborigine leaders are quite pleased. There is evidence of human settlement in Australia as old as 40,000 years ago, but this is one of the oldest finds in this remote part of the continent's northwest.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm over the moon, because it's now indisputable," Slim Parker, an elder of the Martidja Banyjima people, told The Associated Press by telephone from Western Australia.

The tools, along with seeds, bark and other plant material, were found nearly 6.5 feet (about 2 meters) beneath the floor of a shelter—a slight crevice in the hillside protected by an overhang of rock—on the edges of an iron-ore mine site about 590 miles (950 kilometers) northeast of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.

"This area of land, in regard to our culture and customs and beliefs, is of great significance to us," Parker said. "We have songs and stories relating to that area as a sustaining resource that has provided for and cared for our people for thousands of years."

The significance of the find is that it conclusively proves that human moved into the much more arid regions of the continent at much earlier dates. Other such rock shelters in the regions will also be examined for further finds. People of aboriginal descent make up around 450,000 of Australia's 21 million people today.

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