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Oldest ground-edge tool found in Australia

8th November 2010

The world's oldest ground-edge stone tool has been discovered by archaeologists in northern Australia.

A team of international experts found a fragment of an axe at Nawarla Gabarnmang, a large rock shelter in south-western Arnhem Land, and believe it represents an important step in the development of tools by early man.

Dr Bruno David, an archaeologist from Monash University, commented: 'The ground-axe fragment is dated to 35,000 years ago, which predates the oldest examples of ground-edge implements dated to 22,000-30,000 years ago from Japan and northern Australia.'

The expert, who has edited science textbooks such as the Handbook of Landscape Archaeology, claimed that the discovery shows Australia was an 'important locale of technological innovation' in the history of early humans.

He also claimed that the artefact will give researchers a greater understanding of the evolution of human behaviour and the early advances in technology.

Last month, research by the University of York's Dr Penny Spikins and her team argued that early humanoids could have had a strong emotional capacity as far back as around 1.8 million years ago.
 

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