Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Lake Nitchie Burial

At Lake Nitchie, dated to 6820+/- 200, by bone collagen, in western New South Wales, a burial of a man in the lunette of the lake, had a very large pierced tooth necklace. The necklace was made of 178 Tasmanian devil teeth. The teeth would have come from 47 individual devils, now extinct on the mainland. If it was common for the teeth of Tasmanian devils to be used in such large necklaces, maybe it contributed the the demise of the devils in the mainland. Individual teeth are pierced by a hole that was ground and gouged - a very labour-intensive job. So far this necklace is unique in Australia, present or prehistoric.

An unusual feature of this burial was that the body had been compressed into a shaft-like pit. Ochre pellets were found in the pit. The man lacked his 2 front teeth. Tooth avulsion, knocking out of 1 or 2 of a novice's upper incisors, was practised as part of an initiation rite among some Aboriginals. This is another skeleton that has been classified differently by researchers, some say it is robust while others regard it as gracile. 

Sources & Further reading

  1. Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing, 2004
  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
Last Updated 30/09/2011
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