Researcher Elspeth Hayes with Mark Djandjomerr and traditional owner May Nango extracting comparative samples at a cave adjacent Madjedbebe. Credit: David Vadiveloo / Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

New Findings in Australia Have Shocking Ramifications for Human Occupation, Species Extinction and Out of Africa Theories

(Read the article on one page)

A group of archaeologists in Australia has discovered the world's oldest stone axes with a ground edge. This discovery is extremely significant as it pushes Australia's human history back to 65,000 years, almost 18,000 years earlier than archaeologists previously estimated. This change of date is massively significant as it directly challenges current evolution and migration timelines across the world and so, as the research team notes, has ‘universal importance’.

Settlement of Madjedbebe Declared of Universal Significance  

When the team of archaeologists was unearthing the ancient artifacts from an indigenous rock shelter called Madjedbebe (near Kakadu National Park in Australia), none of the participants could ever imagine the immense archaeological significance of their findings. Located 300 kilometers east of Darwin in Mirarr Country, the Madjedbebe rock shelter sits at the base of the Arnhem Land escarpment on a sandy plain. The researchers unearthed a respectable number of artifacts, including the world's oldest-known ground-edge axe head, one made by grinding rather than flaking. Chris Clarkson from the University of Queensland and leader of the research, stated as The Independent reported , “The site contains the oldest ground‐edge stone axe technology in the world, the oldest known seed grinding tools in Australia and evidence of finely made stone points which may have served as spear tips.”

An edge-ground axe head being uncovered. Credit: Chris Clarkson / Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

An edge-ground axe head being uncovered. Credit: Chris Clarkson / Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

Interestingly, many scientists already view Madjedbebe, as home to the earliest evidence of humans in Australia as Phys Org reports .  Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers referred to the settlement of Madjedbebe as of “universal importance” and called for it to receive the “highest level of conservation and protection.”  

Dispute Appears to be Over

The site was last excavated back in the 1980s. Back then it was believed to be between 50,000 and 60,000 years old. However, these dates had been disputed by several archaeologists and in order to settle the dispute for once and for all, Dr. Clarkson and his colleagues returned to the site in 2012 and 2015, armed with more advanced technology and techniques this time. Excavation at the site took place only after the local Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation representing the traditional owners, gave permission to the researchers.

Chris Clarkson and May Nango. Credit: Dominic O Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

Chris Clarkson and May Nango. Credit: Dominic O Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

Next, as Phys Org mentions , labs in Australia used a combination of radiocarbon dating and a technique called luminescence dating (to examine the newly found artifacts), which can show accurately when single grains of sand were last exposed to sunlight, to determine the age of the sediment surrounding the artifacts. The results indicated the lower layers were around 65,000 years old, changing the original date significantly. To be sure that the dates were correct, Professor Jacobs of the University of Wollongong sent four samples to the University of Adelaide for independent testing. The results were the same as ABC News reports .

Axes and grinding stones from the Pleistocene found in the excavations. Credit: Dominic O Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

Axes and grinding stones from the Pleistocene found in the excavations. Credit: Dominic O Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

How History Could Be Reshaped

So what do all these new findings and dates mean for mankind’s history? The article published yesterday in the journal Nature, points out clearly that the modern dating techniques could shed light on the emergence of early humans and their coexistence with ancient wildlife on the Australian continent. The question is: Could this discovery truly reshape history? The answer is yes!

Ben Marwick explaining the dig site to visitors. Credit: Dominic O Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

Ben Marwick explaining the dig site to visitors. Credit: Dominic O Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

Ben Marwick co-author of the article in Nature and UW associate professor of anthropology, explains how the new discovery could make a difference and reshape history as we know it today,

"Previously it was thought that humans arrived and hunted them [sic. megafauna] out or disturbed their habits, leading to extinction, but these dates confirm that people arrived so far before that they wouldn't be the central cause of the death of megafauna," he said as Phys Org reports .
And continues, "It shifts the idea of humans charging into the landscape and killing off the megafauna. It moves toward a vision of humans moving in and coexisting, which is quite a different view of human evolution."

Comments

I have wanted to subscribe for years. Now I have time
now is the time. thank you for all your research, writings, truth telling and relating history for the lay person.

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.

Myths & Legends

Travis Fimmel as Ragnar Lothbrok in the History Channels Vikings Series.
Ragnar Lothbrok was a fearless hero of Norse lore who became widely known thanks to the History Channel’s hit series ‘Vikings.’ His historicity is subject to debate—as with King Arthur, for example—Ragnar is an amalgamation of a number of historical personages and minor characters of legend. So, the question is: Where does Ragnar the man end and the myth begin?

Ancient Places

A photo of the interior of the Siebenberg House.
The Siebenberg House is a house / museum located in the Old City of Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. The Siebenberg House is best-known for the archaeological finds that have been made beneath the present structure. The excavations under the house have revealed several archaeological layers, and allow one to obtain a glimpse of the city’s history.

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