Feeds

Australia claims it invented cutting-edge tech before rest of world

Chopper was the sharpest tool in the box

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Australia has laid claim to being the country that first invented a quite literally game-changing piece of cutting-edge technology - to wit, the stone axe with edge ground for greater sharpness.

"This new evidence for the earliest securely dated ground-edge implement in the world indicates that Australia was an important locale of technological innovation 35,000 years ago," comments Dr Bruno David, Down Under archaeologist.

Researchers believe that humanity's primitive ancestors were using stone tools as long as 3.4 million years ago. However it seems to have taken the greater technical nous of proper Homo sapiens to achieve proper edge grinding, making for a much cuttier tool and starting us off on the road to nuclear power and spaceships.

Previously the earliest known ground-edge stone tools were assessed as dating from just 22,000 to 30,000 years ago. But then in 2006 a large rock shelter was spotted from the air in Jawoyn aboriginal territory in northern Australia's Arnhem Land. The shelter, dubbed Nawarla Gabarnmang, was subsequently investigated by archaeologists and the record-breakingly old chopper was discovered.

"The ground-axe fragment is dated to 35,000 years ago, which pre-dates the oldest examples of ground-edge implements," says Dr David, who was part of the team which found the long-lost tool.

"Axes fulfilled a unique position within the Aboriginal toolkit as long use-life chopping tools, were labour intensive to manufacture and highly valued," adds the doc. "During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, axes were understood by local Aboriginal communities to carry with them the ancestral forces which characterised the particular quarry from which they came."

The international team which confirmed Australia's pre-eminence in stone axe technology was funded by the Aussie government's Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.

The research will be published in the next issue of Australian Archaeology. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.