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Ancient tools in Australia

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


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.

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. 

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


April Holloway is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. For privacy reasons, she has previously written on Ancient Origins under the pen name April Holloway, but is now choosing to use her real name, Joanna Gillan.

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