Submerged archaeology in Oz

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Photo: The Dampier Archipelago is known for its prehistoric rock art

New research says that the Dampier Archipelago in western Australia may well be the best location for discovering submerged archaeology in the country.

The islands of the Dampier Archipelago were once connected to the mainland and are thought to be hiding a 30,000 year old submerged archaeological history. They are well known for their prehistoric rock art.

A team of researchers from the university used geomorphological data on the formation of the archipelago combined with palaeotidal modelling to ascertain that a well preserved pre- glacial shoreline exists on the seabed along the west Australian coastline.

They say that archaeology is most likely to be present in deposits associated with when the water levels began to rise and cover the area after the ice began to melt – around 7000 to 9000 years ago.

The researchers say that this represents an amazing potential for discovering submerged archaeological sites from the late Pleistocene which ended 11,700 years ago and the early Holocene period which continues up to the present day.

The University of Western Australia (UWA) says that this is landmark research because there has been no significant study of submerged archaeology in Australia up until now.