Archaeological Dig In West Australian Cave Finds 45,000 Year Old Human Settlement

Aboriginal artworks n the caves of Python Gorge in Winton. Not the Ganga Maya Cave. Photo by Mark Kolbe/ Getty

Archaeologists have found artefacts dating back 45,000 years in a cave in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Animal bones and charcoal have been dug up in the Ganga Maya Cave, known to traditional owners of the land as “house on the hill”, and is now believed to be the earliest human settlement in Australia.

However Kate Morse, Director of Archaeology at Fremantle heritage consultancy Big Island Research, has said it is too early in the excavation process to officially determine the site’s significance.

“We have only got the one date and I would prefer to get other dates before I make those kind of claims. It is certainly a very old site,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“I think it is an area that people have travelled into to start exploring Australia. They have come from SE Asia across the water and arrived in northern Australia and made their way around the coast following river systems inland.”

Morse was particularly excited about the find because it of the evidence that it had been “occupied on and off but repeatedly including during the Ice Age 18-22,000 years ago and it looks like people were visiting the site then”.

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