In Australia scientists have discovered a sensational find

Barrow Island

Barrow Island

That is until about 6,800 years ago, when sea levels were rising, the land bridge was disappearing and the location was becoming the island we know it as today - around that time, the early settlers abandoned the cave.

One of the largest excavation sites on the island was the 330 foot (100 metre) long Boodie Cave, where the team recovered over 10,000 artefacts.

"Although the coastal areas where the first inhabitants of our continent lived now lie under water, the team located a site on a continental island that has proved to be remarkably rich", researcher Vladimir Levchenko said in a statement from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization. Until now we have known very little about these first coastal peoples.

'The cave was used predominately as a hunting shelter between about 50,000 and 30,000 years ago before becoming a residential base for family groups after 10,000 years ago.

Marine sources of food were brought to the cave in varying quantities throughout the thousands of years it was inhabited, despite fluctuating sea levels and dramatic extensions of the coastal plain.

This indicated a period of occupation between 46,200 and 51,100 thousand years ago.

"This new discovery, with its extraordinary preservation of archaeological remains, gives us with a glimpse of the lives of the people who lived on the coast in the distant past".

The researchers said the site contained the longest record of dietary fauna in Australia.

Conservative estimates previously placed humans in the antipodean nation around 47,000 years ago. These animal remains provide us with profound insights into what people were hunting and collecting from initial settlement onwards, and how they adapted to a new and ever-changing arid landscape.

When the sea level was higher, the people living there relied more heavily on the shellfish and other ocean creatures, such as marine mammals, turtles, and fish.

The discovery, by a team that included a University of Queensland researcher, is of worldwide significance in providing the earliest direct dates for Aboriginal use of marine resources in Australia.

With rising sea levels the coastline came closer to the cave and the number and variety of marine resources increased exponentially. They paint a picture of a society that adapted to its surroundings and made use of the resources available.

Recent genetic studies suggest that colonisation was coastal, with people rapidly moving around the east and west coasts of Australia before meeting up in modern South Australia.

Our findings provide a unique window into the now-drowned Northwest Shelf of Australia.

"Our current research at Barrow Island has provided the earliest evidence of coastal living in Australia".

Almost one-third of Australia's landmass was drowned after the last ice age and along with it evidence for coastal use by some of the earliest Australians. "Even older dates are entirely plausible", he said on Friday.

"It's producing a new narrative for deep Australian history, which is exciting, and I'm very pleased for that". Read the original article.

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