The Great Potential of Underwater Archaeology

Stone tools scattered on the seafloor mark the oldest underwater site ever found on the Australian continent.

Australia has a deep human history stretching back 65,000 years, but many of its oldest archaeological sites are now underwater. In an encouraging sign that Aboriginal artifacts and landscapes may actually be preserved offshore, archaeologists have discovered a 7,000-year-old site submerged along Australia’s continental shelf, the first of its kind.

This area has a wealth of inland archaeological sites, including more than one million examples of rock art. About 18,000 years ago, the shoreline of Murujuga would have extended another 100 miles further than the current coast. But Benjamin and his colleagues had little to go on when they began to search the offshore territory.

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