Today, Australia has an area of 7.6 million square kilometers, but many years ago this continent was much larger. According to archaeologists, the first people on this piece of land appeared 65,000 years ago, when sea levels were 80 meters lower than today. Over time, our planet became warmer, and water flooded part of Australia, which probably inhabited some groups of ancient people. Scientists have long suspected that the instruments of the first Australians could be stored on the coastal areas of the mainland, but there was no evidence for this. However, about four years ago, the Australian Research Council (ARC) launched the Deep History of Sea Country project to search for traces of ancient people in flooded regions. Researchers’ expectations were justified – ancient objects really lie on the seabed.
The first inhabitants of Australia
The discovery of Australian scientists was described in the scientific publication ScienceAlert. Since carrying out such studies costs a lot of money, at first, the researchers examined the historical data and found out exactly which flooded places ancient people could live. Thus, they learned that the first Australians could live on the territory of the current Dampir archipelago – a group of 42 small islands.
At first, the researchers were convinced that there was something at the bottom, using special equipment. In particular, they used sonar – a large device that emits sound waves that are reflected from objects at the bottom. At the next stage of the study, scuba divers plunged onto the seabed and began to search for traces of the ancient people’s residence.
Archaeological finds underwater
I didn’t have to search for a long time – hundreds of stone tools were found at a depth of about 2.4 meters. With their help, the first inhabitants of Australia could hunt, cut meat, and produce other useful objects. A little lower, at a depth of about 14 meters, there was a stone tool with a precisely defined purpose – with it, people just cut something. This, at a minimum, is indicated by the sharpening of the stone. According to the researchers, the places of discovery of ancient instruments were flooded with water about 7000 years ago.
The study proves that right now, under the water column of different regions of our planet, historical monuments can be stored. Scientific work also changes the way scientists think about how Australia was settled. It used to be that people came to the mainland on primitive boats, but now it becomes clear that they could have come by land – after all, most of the Australian mainland was not flooded and there were “bridges” between the islands.
Protection of historical monuments
Having learned that historically valuable objects can be underwater, archaeologists have sounded the alarm – they can be destroyed at any time. And the matter is not only in the destructive effect of time. The fact is that work is ongoing in various areas of the oceans and seas. Many companies are engaged in the extraction of oil and other minerals, and some organizations lay long pipes between entire continents. In addition, do not forget about fishing.
Unlike sunken ships, aircraft, and other objects, historical artifacts are in no way protected at least at the legislative level. Researchers are confident that from now on, industrial companies must work more carefully so as not to damage objects that can help reveal many secrets of human history. But at the moment, no measures have been taken to protect historical sites.
Indeed, at the bottom of the seas of the oceans, there may be objects, the existence of which we may not even guess. In 2019, I told how a dilapidated ship from the time of Christopher Columbus was discovered at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. It was also found using a sonar – about ten years ago, scientists noticed a strange point on the map. As a result, this ship was indeed found and even filmed using a deep-sea robot. From the realization that somewhere in the depths of the sea there are such huge and scientifically valuable objects, I got goosebumps.