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