Friday, May 09, 2008


Tools dating back at least 35,000 years have been unearthed in a rock shelter in Australia's remote northwest, making it one of the oldest finds in that part of the country. The tools include a piece of flint the size of a small cell phone and hundreds of tiny sharp stones that were used as knives. One local Aboriginal elder saw it as vindication of what his people have said all along-that they have inhabited this land for tens of thousands of years.

"I'm ecstatic, I'm over the moon, because it's now indisputable," Slim Parker, an elder of the Martidja Banyjima people, told The Associated Press by telephone from Western Australia.

The tools, along with seeds, bark and other plant material, were found nearly 6.5 feet (about 2 meters) beneath the floor of a shelter-a slight crevice in the hillside protected by an overhang of rock-on the edges of an iron-ore mine site about 590 miles (950 kilometers) northeast of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.


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