Timeline of Burials from
Sahul (Greater Australia) (Pardoe, 1995)
western New South Wales
- 18,000 Aru Islands.
Lake Tandou, southwest New South Wales.
Kow Swamp, possibly to as early as
Coobool Creek, southwest New South
- 11,000 Nacurrie, southwest New South Wales.
- 10,000 Lake Victoria, southwest New South
Roonka, near River Murray mouth,
Lake Nitchie, western New South
- 6,500 Cossack, Western Australia.
- 6,000 Mossgiel, western New South Wales.
Mungo, in the
Willandra Lakes Region. There were more than 130 burials in the
Willandra Lakes Region, the majority of which date to more than
15,000-10,000 BP. It has been estimated that LM1 (WL1) and LM3 (WL3)
date from 40,000 +/- 2,000 BP. LM1 (WL1) is among the oldest known
cremations in the world. There are a number of dates associated with
this burial, 16,940 +/- 635 BP (NZA-231), 19,030 +/- 1,410 BP
(ANU-618A), 24,710 + 1,270/-1,100 BP (ANU-618B), 24,745 +/- 2,400 BP
(NZA-246), 25,120 +/- 1,380 BP (NZA-230), 26,250 +/- 1,120 BP
(ANU-375B). There was also an OSL date of 40,000 +/- 2,000 BP; LM3
(WL3) was an extended burial that has been dated by OSL to 40,000
+/- 2,000 years ago. The remains were covered with red ochre. The
nearest known sources of ochre are in the Manfred Ranges. Dates of
LM3 (WL3) include ESR 31,000 +/- 7,000 BP, ESR 30,000 +/- 2,000 BP
and OSL 40,000 +/- 2,000 BP. Based on ESR and U-series dating the
"best age estimate" is 62,000 +/- 6,000 BP. It is believed WLH 135
may be of a similar age to that of LM1 & LM3. (Bowler 1970,
1973,2003; Bowler & Thorne 1976; Caddie et al., 1987; Webb, 1989,
Pardoe, 1993,1995; Bowler, 1998; Gillespie, 1998; Thorne et.al.,
1999). Photos of
Mungo 3 (WLH
- Aru Islands. An adult female skeleton was found in a grave that
was partially sealed by a flat stone at Liang Lemdubu. Secondary
burial had been carried out, the corpse being dismembered. It has
been dated on stratigraphy to about 18,000 BP to 16,000 BP. AMS
dating of the bone collagen gave a date of 3,180 BP (OSD577), which
is regarded as a minimum age. ESR dating of tooth enamel gave a date
of 15,800 +/- 1,800 BP (early uranium uptake) or 18,800 +/- 2,300
(linear uranium uptake). Fragmentary remains of an adult female and
2 young children, were found at Liang Nabulei Lisa. Secondary burial is
indicated by comingling of the remains and evidence of burning. The
secondary burial is believed to probably be from the Early to Mid
Holocene, but they may date to the Late
Pleistocene, though it has
been suggested they could be much younger. (Bulbeck,
2006a,b;O'Connor et al., 2006b).
- Lake Tandou, southwest New South Wales. A burial of an
individual in the kneeling position. Shell from what is believed to
be the same stratifigraphic unit gave a date of 15,200 +/- 160 BP
(LLO-416). Cremation was dated to 12,530 +1,630/-1,350 BP (ANU-705).
(Freedman & Lofgren, 1983; Pardoe, 1988,19995)
- Kow Swamp, possibly to as early as 22,000 BP. At least 40
individuals were buried with grave goods, some of which were mussel
shells, stone artefacts, marsupial teeth and ochre; The
came from the Kow Swamp site. It has been dated to between
14,000-9,000 BP, but it has been suggested it may be between 22,000
BP and 19,000 BP; KS1 has been dated to 10,070 +/- 250 BP
(ANU-403b); KS5-13,000 +/- 280 BP (ANU-1236); KS9, 9,300 +/- 220 BP
(ANU-619b); KS9, 9590 +/- 130 BP (ANU-532); KS14, 8,700 +/- 220 BP
(ANU-1038); KS17, 11,350 +/- 160 BP (ANU-1235); The Kow Sand where
KS9 was buried, gave OSL dates of 14,400 +/- 800 BP & 19,000 +/-
1,100 BP. The Cohuna Silt, containing the burials of KS1, KS5, KS14
& KS17 gave an OSL date of 21,600 +/- 1,300 BP. (Thorne & Macumber.
1972; Brown, 1987,1989; Pardoe, 1988,1995; Stone & Cupper, 2003).
- Coobool Creek, southwest New South Wales. 33 individuals have
been found in these burials. CC65 U/Th of 14,300 +/- 1,000
BP(LLO-416). CC65 AMS gave a date of 7,200 +/- 60 BP (Beta-90029).
(Brown, 1987, 1989; Pardoe, 1995).
- Keilor, Victoria. Near the Maribyrnong River the cranium of an
adult male and femur fragments were found in a sand deposit. Bone
collagen from the associated femur fragments have been dated to
12,900 +/- 120 BP (NZ-1327) and 12,000 +/- 120 BP (NZ-1327). Some
dates were obtained from a carbonate crust on the skull. They ranged
from 5,200 +/- 200 BP (NZ-1320) to 6,800 +/- 100 BP (NZ-1321). The
carbonate on the femur fragments gave a date of 6,790 +/-
50 BP (NZ-1326). (Oakley et al., 1975, Mackintosh & Larnach, 1976;
- Nacurrie, southwest New South Wales. 2 individuals were
recovered from this site. A male has been dated to 11,440 +/-160 BP
(NZA-1069). (Brown, 1987, 1989; Pardoe, 1995).
- Lake Victoria, southwest New South Wales. At this site there is
a cemetery that has been estimated to contain about 10,000 burials
that date some time after 10,000 BP (Pardoe, 1995).
River Murray mouth, South Australia. This site is
believed to contain about 120-140 burials, some of them multiple,
with grave goods such as ochre and personal ornaments, such as
headbands of wallaby teeth. Dates were obtained on associated
charcoal and cortical bone collagen range from 7,480 +/- 440 BP (ANU
1428) to 220 +/- 80 BP (ANU 3262). In the Roonka II Phase, that
dates from 8,000 - 4,000 BP, 12 burials have been found, of which 6
were of the shaft type. In the Rooka III Phase, postdating 4,000 BP,
there are more than 70 known burials, most of which are extended or
contracted primary interments in shallow pits or shafts. Roonka Grave
7 has been dated to 7,480 +/- 400 BP (ANU 1428). Roonka Grave 89
dates to 6,910 +/- 450 BP (ANU-1408), and Roonka Grave 48 to 3,930
+/- 120 BP (ANU-407). (Pretty, 1977; Pardoe, 1988,1995; Pate et a.,
- Lake Nitchie, western New South Wales. An adult male in a small
pit, semi-recumbent position, that had been covered with red ochre
and was wearing a necklace of 178 pierced Tasmanian devil teeth. The
skull shows early evidence of tooth avulsion. Bone collagen dated to
6,820 +/- 200 BP (NZ). (Marshall, 1971; Oakley et a., 1975; brown,
1987,1989; Pardoe, 1993,1995).
- Cossack, Western Australia. An adult male burial that dates to
6,500 BP (Freedman & Lofgren, 1979; Pardoe, 1993).
- Mossgiel, western New South Wales. An adult male, a bone
carbonate date of 6,010 +/- 125 BP (NZ-814). (Oakley et a., 1975;
Brown, 1987; Pardoe, 1993, 1995).
Sources & Further reading
- Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B.
- Phillip J. Habgood & Natilie R. Franklin,
The revolution that
didn't arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul, Journal of Human
Evolution, 55, 2008