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Pottery and Australians

17 April 2024
Anthropology, Archaeology, Geology

At https://phys.org/news/2024-04-discovery-pottery-rewrites-aboriginal-history.html … the discovery of pottery on Jiigurru/Lizard Island off the Queensland coast challenges the idea Aborigines were unaware of pottery manufacture prior to the 18th and 19th centuries. Ceramics, or sherds of pottery, have been discovered on Jiigurru, excavated out of a midden. A metre deep inside it. The sherds have been dated between 2000 and 3000 years old. See https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2024.108624 …  buried in a heap that was full of shell fish and fish remains. Most of this was more than 6000 years of age, it is thought. Geological analysis of the pottery sherds has revealed it was locally produced using clay and tempers from Jiigurru. The period overlaps with a time when the Lapita people of southern New Guinea were known to have produced pottery. Hence, the technology was imported into Jiigurru which is indicative of contacts between Queensland and New Guinea, at that time – presumably requiring boat voyaging. The Lapita people are also thought to be related to the Polynesians who at a later stage of history fanned out across the Pacific.

Over at https://www.livescience.com/archaeology/drowned-land-off-australia-was-an-aboriginal-hotspot-in-last-ice-age-4000-stone-artifacts-reveal … an analysis of 4000 stone artifacts found on Barrow Island, off the NW coast of Australia, have intrigued archaeologists. They date to the Late Glacial Maximum, during a period of different sea levels to those of the modern world. Barrow Island was a high plateau in what was a low lying area, now submerged. A vast area of what is now the sea floor – or more properly the continental shelf that surrounds Australia, must have been home to Aboriginal peoples. Archaeologist have unearthed 4400 slicing, cutting, and grinding tools made of stone. Not just from the local limestone but from igneous and sandstone rocks that come from geological deposits on what is now mainland Australia. This suggests people were able to go to and fro to what is now Barrow Island.

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