The first underwater Aboriginal people

Australia was not always that big. Much of the continent was flooded in the last ice age. But where there is water now, the Aborigines used to live. A team of archaeologists discovered it in northwestern Australia. They are the first submarine natives. They were created thousands of years ago when the current seabed was dry land.

Work in stone

An international team of archaeologists from Flinders University, Western Australia University and others have partnered with Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation. They sought to locate and investigate two underwater locations. Hundreds of stone tools were made there, made by indigenous people. Even the grindstones.

The first underwater areas of the Aboriginal people in Australia contain stone tools.
The first underwater areas of the Aboriginal people in Australia contain stone tools.

The study was published today in PLOS ONE. The old underwater areas are located at Cape Bruguieres and at the Flying Foam Passage. They provide new evidence of Aboriginal life forms when the seabed was dry land thousands of years ago due to the lower sea level.

The submerged cultural landscapes represent today’s land of the sea for many indigenous Australians. They have a deep cultural, spiritual and historical connection to these underwater environments.

Today we announce the discovery of two archaeological underwater sites that were once on land. This is an exciting step for Australian archeology. We integrate maritime and indigenous archeology and create links between land and sea ». This is stated by Associate Professor Jonathan Benjamin from Flinders University.

Up to 8,500 years

«Australia is a big continent. But few people realize that more than 30% of its landmass has been submerged by rising sea levels since the last ice age. This means that a great deal of archaeological evidence documenting Aboriginal life is now under water, “he says.

“Now we finally have the first proof that at least some of this archaeological evidence has survived the rise in sea level. The old coastal archeology has not been lost forever. We just haven’t found it yet, “continued this specialist.

Some tools found under water.
Some tools found under water.

The diving team mapped 269 objects at Cape Bruguieres up to 2.4 meters below the current sea level. Various analyzes show that the deposit is at least 7,000 years old.

The second location at the Flying Foam Passage includes an underwater fresh water source 14 meters below sea level. This page is estimated to be at least 8,500 years old.

Objects found off the coast of Pilbara in Western Australia represent Australia’s oldest known underwater archeology – the earliest underwater indigenous sites.

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