35,000 year old artifacts from Hope Downs, Australia

Afarensis shared with us a news that 35,000 year old artifacts were found from an iron ore mine site is seen at Hope Downs, Australia. I think this is a interesting find, but it is by no means the first time artifacts of this antiquity have been found in Australia, nor is it the oldest finds. The Associated Press news article by Tanalee Smith explains this distinction.

The article doesn’t tell us how these artifacts were dated, nor does it indicate if these finds will be published in a peer reviewed journal. But it does include a photo of one of the artifacts, a chert knife.

Groundstone axes below, from the Sahul landmass (actually Bobongara) have been dated to be 38,000 years old by thermoluminescence. Thermoluminescence isn’t always accurate… A 2004 review of artifacts from more than 30 archaeological sites, recently concluded Sahul was peopled around 42–45,000 years ago. This was based off of radiocarbon dating of flakes, hearths, animal bones. Lake Mungo, in south-western New South Wales, Australia, confers this time frame as well — Mungo Lady, a partially creamted body has been also dated to around 40,000 years ago.

So while this isn’t the most significant archaeological find in understanding the details of how Australia was peopled, it does shows us that people were living in more arid parts of Australia, such as the Pilbara region, earlier than previously known and had adapted and stayed.

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