Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Homo erectus near Australia

Evidence of occupation on the Indonesian island of Flores has been found indicating that H. erectus had reached the island by 800,000 years ago, (Nature, Vol.392, 12 March 1998, pp 173-176). Fission track dating was used to date the volcanic tuff above and beneath stone artefacts and associated remains of extinct animals.

It would have required a water crossing for H. erectus to have reached Flores from the nearest other land, about 19 km across the sea. Some form of sea-worthy water transport was required, both to reach Flores from the nearest island and travel from the Asian mainland which has never been connected to the islands, Flores being separated from the mainland by 3 deep-water channels.

The isolation of the island is confirmed by the impoverished nature of the fauna, the only animals being those that could have arrived by flying or other means such as drifting tree trunks from other islands.

Prior the the dating of the Flores material the oldest use of watercraft that evidence has been found for was the arrival of the Aboriginal People in Australia about 60,000 years ago. If H. erectus could make short sea crossings prior to 800,000 years ago, there would be no problem for the Aboriginal People travelling to Australia, also from one of the Indonesian Islands.

The recent find of the diminutive Hobbits on Flores has sparked research that suggests they may have descended from the Asian H. erectus population also on Flores.

The Colonisation of Greater Australia in the Pleistocene - a Re-examination

Sources & Further reading

  1. Flood, Josephine, 2004, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, JB Publications.
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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