Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

When Did Humans First Arrive in Australia and Why is it Important to Know?

According to the authors2 there is little consensus on the timing of human first arrived in Australia during the Pleistocene, in spite of significant advances in radiometric dating techniques in the last 15 years, as well as concerted efforts in the same time period to locate new sites and date them and to re-date sites that are known of in Australia and New Guinea. Many argue for dates to 60,000 BP and older, though there is general agreement that the first settlers had colonised the continent by 45,000 BP. There are 5 well-known sites that continue to drive the long chronology, Nauwalabila, Malakunanja, Huon Peninsula, Lake Mungo and Devil's Lair. In this paper the authors review the data which have accumulated for these sites over the last decade. It argues that uncertainty concerning much of the earlier data arises from questions of artefact contexts and site taphonomy rather than dating technologies, the problem being an archaeological one that has not received enough attention. 

Sources & Further reading

  1. O'Connell, James F., and Jim Allen. "When Did Humans First Arrive in Greater Australia and Why Is It Important to Know?". Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews 6, no. 4 (1998): 132-46.
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 12/10/2013
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