Ancient tools in Australia

Ancient tools evolved in Australia thousands of years before they appeared in Europe

(Read the article on one page)

Australia receives relatively little attention in academic literature when it comes to examining the origins and development of ancient weapons and tools. But neglecting to examine the capabilities of the ancient inhabitants of Australia would be missing out on an important piece of the puzzle. New research has shown that purposely sharpened or ‘retouched’ stone axes evolved in Australia thousands of years before they appeared in Europe. This suggests two possible scenarios – either the development of material culture evolved independently in various parts of the world, or the indigenous inhabitants of Australia had contact with other populations and passed on their tool-making capabilities.

According to a recent paper by scientists from the University of Western Australia and Australian National University, ground-edged axes were found at a site near Windjana Gorge in the central Kimberley dating back 30,000 years, challenging common assumptions about paleolithic innovations.

"The suggestion that all innovation has to come from the Old World is not true because clearly ground-stone axes were created here," said Professor Jane Balme, archaeologists from the University of Western Australia.

The researchers maintain that the stone axes were just one stage in the development of tools or weapons, but most likely not the first. They suggest that the first tools, such as spears, came from wood, and plants may have been used to create string for fishing.

The researchers suggest that the Australian Aboriginals developed the ground stone axes as a solution for chopping trees and plants, while the Europeans developed the same type of tools independently several millennia later, possibly to aid with hunting migrating game, which was common in Europe.

However, they appear to dismiss altogether the possibility that the Australian Aborigines could have passed on their innovations to other cultures. This is a view held by Steven and Even Strong , authors of ‘Forgotten Origin’, and other titles, who present the theory that Australian Aboriginals people “set sail from Australia, not to, 50,000 years ago.   We claim that Australian Original people sailed to and settled in America over 40,000 years ago, and visited many other places including Egypt, Japan, Africa, India etc. They were the first Homo sapiens who evolved before the Sapiens of Africa, and who gave the world art, axes, religion, marine technology, culture, co-operative living, language and surgery.”

Indeed, researcher Professor Balme has indicated that ground-edged axes have also been found in Japan dating to several thousand years after those found in Australia.

Steven and Evan Strong add that “Many may not know that Professor Alan Wilson, the person responsible for the claim that we evolved from Africa, recanted his theory and now believes a small group of Homo erectus got to Australia 400,000 years ago. He believes they evolved into Homo sapiens and then spread from Australia well before the Africans.”

Featured image: Ground-edged axes like this one were found at a site near Windjana Gorge in the central Kimberley. Photo credit: Chris Langeluddecke

By April Holloway


April, thanks for the explanation.

When I work on my farm and I plant some vegetables and water them I notice that the next day that there are stones that have moved up from underneath appearing on top of the soil.
Go into a dug garden and try this for yourself and validate that which I have written.

I thought long and hard about this and I came to the conclusion that this is also how minerals and other nutrients are replenished in the soil. Do not plant the same annual harvest crop in the same place in the second year as it will not flourish time is needed to replenish nutrient.

This dating method is tantamount to declaring that one can tell the age of someone by knowing the age of the shoes they are wearing.

Mother earth is alive and breathing and stones move continuously throughout the soil (sediment)

The dating of a piece of rock would be valid if the earth was dead and still which it is not.
Methinks science must look again at this method of dating.

Ahem! 'accomplished' Tsk, and one glass of wine.

It is my contention that a linear evolution of man-kind (oxymoron) is just not the case.
My proposition is that there have been many civilis(z)ations, some far in advance of us and some, to our reckoning, way behind us.

I would dearly like to know how the scientific dating of a piece of stone, is acomplshed.

aprilholloway's picture

Hi Guillaume, stone can only be dated if it is found embedded within a layer of sediment because there are scientific techniques that can date specific layers of sediment in the earth. 

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Denisova cave, some 150 km (93 mi) south of the city of Barnaul, is the only source of Denisovan's remains. Pictures: The Siberian Times
The distance from the only currently known home of the Denisovans in Altai region to the nearest point of Australia is roughly akin to the length of the Trans-Siberian railway, and yet it is looking increasingly likely that these ancient species of humanoids somehow made this epic journey deep in pre-history, perhaps 65,000 years ago.

Myths & Legends

A vase-scene from about 410 BC. Nimrod/Herakles, wearing his fearsome lion skin headdress, spins Noah/Nereus around and looks him straight in the eye. Noah gets the message and grimaces, grasping his scepter, a symbol of his rule - soon to be displaced in the post-Flood world by Nimrod/Herakles, whose visage reveals a stern smirk.
The Book of Genesis describes human history. Ancient Greek religious art depicts human history. While their viewpoints are opposite, the recounted events and characters match each other in convincing detail. This brief article focuses on how Greek religious art portrayed Noah, and how it portrayed Nimrod in his successful rebellion against Noah’s authority.

Human Origins

Sumerian creation myth
Sumer , or the ‘land of civilized kings’, flourished in Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq, around 4500 BC. Sumerians created an advanced civilization with its own system of elaborate language and...

Ancient Technology

The School of Athens
Much of modern science was known in ancient times. Robots and computers were a reality long before the 1940´s. The early Bronze Age inhabitants of the Levant used computers in stone, the Greeks in the 2nd century BC invented an analogue computer known as the Antikythera mechanism. An ancient Hindu book gives detailed instructions for the construction of an aircraft –ages before the Wright brothers. Where did such knowledge come from?

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article