A > 46,000-year-old kangaroo bone implement from Carpenter's Gap 1 (Kimberley, northwest Australia)

Susan O'Connor, Michelle Langley, Kenneth Aplin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Here we describe the oldest shaped and utilised bone implement recovered from an Australian context. Dated to beyond 46,000 years cal. BP and recovered from Carpenter's Gap 1 rockshelter, in the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia, this artefact demonstrates not only that Australian osseous technology has a time depth almost 25,000 years older than previously believed, but that bone technology was present in the opposite corner of the country from which it was proposed to have been innovated around 20,000 years ago. Comparison of this artefact with ethnographic implements found that the CG1 point was most consistent with an awl or a 'nose-bone'. If the implement was an awl it provides evidence for intangible behaviours such as leather working or basketry being enacted more than 46,000 years cal. BP ago, while the alternative � a nose-bone � would constitute the earliest piece of personal ornamentation in Sahul. In either case, this single artefact provides rare insights into the culture and technology of Australia's earliest peoples.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)199-213
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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