CANBERRA, July 2 (Xinhua) -- The first underwater Aboriginal archaeological sites dating back thousands of years have been discovered by Australian researchers.
The artefacts discovered at two sites off the coast of Western Australia (WA) by a team of archaeologists from Flinders University, the University of WA and James Cook University include hundreds of stone tools and represent Australia's oldest known underwater archaeological find.
"Today we announce the discovery of two underwater archaeological sites that were once on dry land. This is an exciting step for Australian archaeology as we integrate maritime and Indigenous archaeology and draw connections between land and sea," Jonathan Benjamin, the Maritime Archaeology Program Coordinator at Flinders University, said in a media release.
"Australia is a massive continent but few people realize that more than 30 percent of its land mass was drowned by sea-level rise after the last ice age. This means that a huge amount of the archaeological evidence documenting the lives of Aboriginal people is now underwater."
"Now we finally have the first proof that at least some of this archaeological evidence survived the process of sea level rise. The ancient coastal archaeology is not lost for good; we just haven't found it yet. These new discoveries are a first step toward exploring the last real frontier of Australian archaeology."
"For me, this is the find of a lifetime," Benjamin added.
The sites were found in the Dampier Archipelago, a chain of 42 coastal islands and coral reefs approximately 1200 kilometers north of Perth.
The first at Cape Bruguieres was found to be at least 7,000 years old and the second at Flying Foam Passage at least 8,500 years old, according to researchers. Enditem