Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Timeline of Burials from Sahul (Greater Australia) (Pardoe, 1995)

  1. 40,000    Lake Mungo, western New South Wales
  2. 18,000    Aru Islands.
  3. 15,000    Lake Tandou, southwest New South Wales.
  4. 14,000    Kow Swamp, possibly to as early as 22,000 BP.
  5. 14,000    Coobool Creek, southwest New South Wales
  6. 13,000    Keilor, Victoria.
  7. 11,000    Nacurrie, southwest New South Wales.
  8. 10,000    Lake Victoria, southwest New South Wales
  9.  8,000    Roonka, near River Murray mouth, South Australia.
  10.  7,000    Lake Nitchie, western New South Wales.
  11.  6,500    Cossack, Western Australia.
  12.  6,000    Mossgiel, western New South Wales.

 

  1. Lake 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 3)
  2. 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).
  3. 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)
  4. 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 Cohuna cranium 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).
  5. 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).
  6. 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; Brown, 1987,1989).
  7. 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).
  8. 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).
  9. Roonka Flat, near 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., 1998).
  10. 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).
  11. Cossack, Western Australia. An adult male burial that dates to 6,500 BP (Freedman & Lofgren, 1979; Pardoe, 1993).
  12. 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

  1. Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing
  2. Phillip J. Habgood & Natilie R. Franklin, The revolution that didn't arrive: A review of Pleistocene Sahul, Journal of Human Evolution, 55, 2008

 

Author: M. H. Monroe
Email: admin@austhrutime.com
Last updated: 04/01/2015
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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email: admin@austhrutime.com     Sources & Further reading