martes, 1 de diciembre de 2015

Secrets unearthed at Boodie Cave: humankind just got a little older


1/5. UWA researcher and PhD student Kane Ditchfield excavating Boodie Cave, on Barrow Island off Western Australia. Picture: Ingrid Ward

Boodie Cave on Barrow Island is yielding an ancient secret of global significance: resourceful, well-fed humans were living in its limestone chambers more than 50,000 years ago, several thousand years earlier than archaeologists had ­estimated.

The startling evidence has been unearthed in surgically excavated pits on Barrow, Western Australia’s second largest island, 50km off the Pilbara coast.

Thousands of tiny artefacts lie in sediment dated to 50,000 years old in an Oxford University laboratory, where 200 single sand grains were measured by optically stimulated luminescence.

There are even older OSL dates of 53,000 years from grains mixed in with fragments of a shellfish meal.

“There’s no question that we’ve broken through the 50,000-year barrier,” says an ecstatic Peter Veth, lead archeologist and Kimberley Foundation chair in rock art from the University of Western Australia. [...] theaustralian.com.au / Link 2