4. Australia possesses a man-made stone circle formation predating that of Stonehenge but has kept the location secret to prevent vandalism
Although Stonehenge enjoys international fame, Australia is quietly home to a far more ancient stone circle. Near Mullumbimby, New South Wales, and discovered in 1939, the site dating to the Paleolithic era houses one of the oldest man-made constructions in the world; comprising 181 sandstone features, it is likely these stones were quarried nearly 20 kilometers away before being transported by some unknown means by ancient Australians to their final resting place. In the words of its discoverer Frederic Slater: “the mound is one of the oldest; I should say the oldest, forms of temples in the world and dates back to the Palaeolithic age with the advent of the first man”.
Even more remarkably, the “Australian Stonehenge” is apparently inscribed with what allegedly forms one of the oldest human languages ever discovered; this discovery alone renders the common assumption concerning the lack of a formal writing system by ancient Aboriginals questionable. Translated by Slater after his discovery, 28,000 words are supposedly accounted for in what has been described as a “very complicated, multi-layered” language including “a combination of hand signs, letters, sacred signs, and body parts”. Unfortunately, due to considerable damage inflicted on the site during the 1940s, the site has been kept permanently secret and its location undisclosed to protect it from any further harm from tourists or vandalism.
3. In a telling lesson for modern humans regarding ongoing dramatic shifts in climate, ancient Australia was utterly transformed by a “mega-drought” lasting more than 1,000 years which caused the extinction of entire Aboriginal civilizations
The Kimberley region of northwest Australia is home to one of the largest collections of early human rock art in the world, having been inhabited by humans for approximately the last 45,000 years; curiously, two highly distinct styles of painting are discernible: “Gwion Gwion“, dating from 17,000 to 5,000 years ago, and “Wandjina“, dating from 4,000 years ago to the present day. The reasoning behind the sudden disappearance of the Gwion people in Kimberley, and the subsequent emergence of the Wandjina, can be explained as a consequence of dramatic natural shifts in Australia’s climate.
Around 5,500 years ago the region’s annual wet season is believed to have unexpectedly ceased, resulting in an arid period lasting approximately 1,500 years before conditions stabilized at levels comparable to that of the 20th century. Through the analysis of sediments and pollen, researchers have identified shifts in vegetation and humidity to model historic climate patterns in Australia. Their conclusions were an increase in dust particles led to a failure of the monsoon rains and a “mega-drought”; as Professor Hamish McGowan explains: “our interpretation is that this seems to coincide with the demise of one culture until the climate adjusted and another took its place”. As a result of the changing climate conditions, those who adapted were able to survive and subsequently expand whilst others less fortunate or successful were seemingly and cruelty eradicated from known history.
Joseph Lycett’s 1817 watercolor: “Aborigines Using Fire to Hunt Kangaroos”, depicting the use of fire burning as a hunting tool by Aboriginal Australians. National Library of Australia.
2. Ancient Aboriginals were not merely hunter-gatherers, but intelligently utilized fire as a tool as part of a complex farming endeavor spanning a continent
Although when one thinks of hunter-gatherers one typically envisages the tools used as spears or bows, in addition to plucking berries from bushes, Aboriginal Australians instead ingeniously also used fire as a means to carefully manage their food chain. In an incredibly sophisticated system of land management, Aborigines intelligently employed natural occurrences of water and fire to cultivate environments best suited to their subsistence needs.
Rather than mere victims of the bushfires which Australia endures each year, and which if left unchecked would eradicate the food supplies of entire tribes, native populations instead directed the fires in a way which accommodated their requirements. Selectively burning dense forest patches to reduce the impact of any potential devastating natural fire, these man-made fires cleared spaces for crop cultivation of otherwise unavailable produce and enabled the farming of animals in these areas; for instance, kangaroos prefer short grass whilst native bees prefer bloodwood, and thus the Aborigines created the conditions most appropriate for these desired outcomes. This intelligent understanding and farming practice stand in sharp contrast to Charles Darwin‘s ignoble description of indigenous Australians as “harmless savages wandering about without knowing where they shall sleep at night and gaining their livelihood by hunting in the woods”.
Unfortunately, the practice of fire-stick farming has also been blamed for various negative outcomes throughout the ecological history of Australia, namely the rapid extinction of a variety of megafauna; the deaths of these predominantly herbivorous species resulted in an overabundance of flammable crops, which in turn fueled the fires into ever-larger infernos and caused critical damage to sundry and now-extinct fire-exposed plants.
Brazil’s Surui people, pictured above, allegedly share ancestry with indigenous Australians. Reuters/Corbis
1. It is believed that Aboriginal Australians might share ancestry with the native peoples of South America, particularly the inhabitants of the Amazonian Basin
As noted, the Aborigines of ancient Australia are among, if not the, oldest non-African cultures in the world; in addition to this claim, it has also been suggested by genetic researchers that the Aboriginals are related to the native Amazonian tribes of South America. Genome analysis conducted in 2014 revealed that the Australian Aboriginals are the closest genetic relations to several Amazonian tribes, in particular the Surui, Xavante, and Karitiana people; in fact, Australian Aboriginals were far closer relations than any known Eurasian culture, including the most common Siberians.
The consequence of this theory means that the original migration detailed above from Africa to Australia was likely even larger than already suspected and included multiple breakaway groups; these groups, according to this theory, must have split off en route, with some ultimately destined to migrate across thousands of years to South America via the Bering Strait. It also undermines the theory that Native American migration was the result of a single breakaway occurrence, instead suggesting multiple waves into the American continents starting with the distant relatives of the Aboriginals residing in Australia.
Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:
“Revealing the prehistoric settlement of Australia by Y chromosome and mtDNA analysis”, Colin Renfrew, PNAS (2007)
“DNA Confirms Aboriginal Culture One of Earth’s Oldest”, Australian Geographic (2011)
“Aboriginal genome rewrites human dispersal story”, Mudrock University (2011)
“DNA confirms Aboriginal Australian origins”, Hamish Clarke, Cosmosmagazine (2007)
“Henbury Craters and Meteorites – Their Discovery, History, and Study”, Svend Buhl and Don McColl, Hamburg (2015)
“Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait Islands: Guide to Indigenous Australia”, Lonely Planet (2001)
“Aboriginal-Makassan interactions in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in northern Australia and contemporary sea rights claims”, D. Russell, Australian Institute of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Studies (2004)
“Were the African coins found in Australia from a wrecker Arab dhow”, Jonathan Gornall, The National, (May 29, 2013)
“World’s oldest ax discovered in Australia”, Jonathan Pearlman, The Telegraph (May 10, 2016)
“Rock of ages: Australia’s oldest artwork found”, Associated Press, The Guardian (June 18, 2012)
“Understanding Aboriginal Dreamings”, Artlandish – Aboriginal Art Galary.
“Is this mysterious site Australia’s Stonehenge?”, Kate Schneider, NewsComAU (November 9, 2015)
“Did Mega-Drought destroy Aboriginal Culture”, Joanna Egan, Australian Geographic (December 17, 2012)
“The First Farmers”, Tony Stephens, Sydney Morning Herald (October 1, 2011)
“A DNA Search for the First Americans Links Amazon Groups to Indigenous Australians”, Helen Thompson, Smithsonian Magazine (July 21, 2015)