Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2017 Jul 19;547(7663):306-310. doi: 10.1038/nature22968.

Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago.

Author information

1
School of Social Science, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
2
Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia.
3
Centre for Archaeological Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales 2522, Australia.
4
Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.
5
Nulungu Research Institute, University of Notre Dame, Broome, Western Australia 6725, Australia.
6
Centre for Historical Research, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia.
7
Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02143, USA.
8
School of Physical Sciences, the Environment Institute and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
9
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights, New South Wales 2234, Australia.
10
Place, Evolution, Rock Art, Heritage Unit, School of Humanities, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland 4222, Australia.
11
Australian Synchrotron, 800 Blackburn Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia.
12
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
13
Archaeology and Natural History, School of Culture, History and Language, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia.

Abstract

The time of arrival of people in Australia is an unresolved question. It is relevant to debates about when modern humans first dispersed out of Africa and when their descendants incorporated genetic material from Neanderthals, Denisovans and possibly other hominins. Humans have also been implicated in the extinction of Australia's megafauna. Here we report the results of new excavations conducted at Madjedbebe, a rock shelter in northern Australia. Artefacts in primary depositional context are concentrated in three dense bands, with the stratigraphic integrity of the deposit demonstrated by artefact refits and by optical dating and other analyses of the sediments. Human occupation began around 65,000 years ago, with a distinctive stone tool assemblage including grinding stones, ground ochres, reflective additives and ground-edge hatchet heads. This evidence sets a new minimum age for the arrival of humans in Australia, the dispersal of modern humans out of Africa, and the subsequent interactions of modern humans with Neanderthals and Denisovans.

PMID:
28726833
DOI:
10.1038/nature22968
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center