Thursday, July 18, 2024

Lived there 60,000 years ago… Scientists map hidden areas of habitation of first Australians | Science


All Ice Age sites in western Arnhem were near the sea and, therefore, mangrove swamps at some point during the transition of this part of northern Australia.

During the late Pleistocene, sea levels were so low that Australia was connected to its northern neighbors Papua New Guinea and Indonesia in a supercontinent once called Sahul, but at the end of the last ice age and the ice sheets melted. About 10 thousand years ago, large parts of these lands were flooded.

A citizen of Australia’s first settlement

mentioned A statement Australia’s first people have been occupying these parts of northern Australia for at least 65,000 years, Science Alert published on May 30, based on thousands of stone tools and remains found in the Mudgetbabe Refuge in 2010. It points to the remarkable journey of skilled sailors who crossed sea and land bridges to inhabit the driest continent on Earth.

Despite all their efforts, archaeologists have yet to find another ancient site like Mudztbab, not because such sites don’t exist, but because they’re looking in the wrong places.

The existing landscape hides potential sites hidden from view or submerged. To aid the search, researchers working with the Nyangma Rangers, the traditional guardians of the Great Red Lily Lagoon in western Arnhem Land, reconstructed an ancient landscape buried under present-day seasonal flooding.

Pioneer methods

Flinders University scientists used ground-based imaging and aerial surveys to show how a significant portion of the Northern Territory changed due to sea-level rise 8,000 years ago. -made) in the region, known worldwide for its prominence and unique style.

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Researchers note – Their statement A report posted on the Flinders University website says that by examining how sea-level rise has changed sediments that are now buried under floodplains, researchers can see how the transformation of the Red Lily Lagoon led to the development of mangroves. In tropical coastal marshes, at high tide, where many roots intertwine above ground to form dense forests, the rock art of ancient tribes supported animals and marine life in the area, and this change fostered the ecosystem. Ancient rock inspired themes and animals in art.

Researchers use electrical resistivity tomography to map nature in northern Australia (Flinders University)

Environmental reflection in rock art

Inside Results In their findings, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers say the lake’s environmental changes are reflected in the rock art, as fish, crocodiles and birds appeared in the art when the low-lying terrain adjacent to the river flooded. To improve freshwater habitats for new animal species, mainly from river sediments and subject to flooding.

The mapping fundamentally changes our archaeological understanding of Arnhem Lands’ landscapes, says Dr Zarath Nulser, first author and research assistant at Flinders University’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. The settlement of Australia, the reconstruction of Red Lily Lagoon, enables useful predictive modeling of major cultural sites and provides an important method for interpreting the presence and origin of Aboriginal objects.”

He adds, “The timing of the rock art coincides with the broader environmental changes that we believe took place at this site. This is evidenced by changes in the subject matter of the art, such as the appearance of large marsupials. The appearance of coastal animal species such as fish and crocodiles, and the addition of freshwater species such as fish and birds, are recent art from this region. reflects the styles, and the levels of environmental change that occurred when it was a freshwater plain. That shaped the landscape.”

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Researchers study how sediments buried under floodplains change due to sea-level rise (Flinders University)

A better understanding of ancient history

“Based on the results of this study, all Ice Age sites in the west of the Arnhem Lands were close to the sea and, therefore, were mangrove swamps at some point during the transition of this landscape. This has important implications for the ancient geology. The settings of these sites,” says the researcher. This must be taken into account when interpreting changes in stone artefacts, food resources and the composition of material analogues of this period of early Australians.”

Co-author Associate Professor Ian Moffat said electrical resistance tomography (ERT) is a fast and low-cost method for mapping large areas of Australian landscapes to better understand their ancient history. “Create landscape models,” he says. “This can be useful for understanding known sites and predicting buried archaeological sites.”

“We have demonstrated that the topography of this region can be effectively mapped using simple methods. This has important implications for finding new sites, but also for more precisely understanding regional geography and its impact on past human behavior.”

He continues his speech, “The Red Lily Lagoon is of exceptional archaeological importance in the Arnhem Lands because it is located at one of the eastern points of the East Alligator River floodplain, where the modern river and the Arnhem Plateau form. The critical boundary between low-lying floodplains and sandstone highs, inhabited by humans for over 60,000 years, is Australia’s most There are countless sites of interest, including famous rock art.”

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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