A Sydney archaeologist says a fragment of what he believes to be part of the oldest axe in the world is challenging previous knowledge on Aboriginal Australian life. Jim Drury reports.
It's smaller than a thumbnail but this axe fragment is challenging existing theories on Stone Age life in Western Australia. Archaeologists say it's part of a blade dating back 49,000 years. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR OF AUSTRALIAN ARCHAEOLOGY, PETER HISCOCK, SAYING: "We're really lucky in that the fragment we have comes from the edge of the axe, so it has the two polished edges coming together to form the working edge and so that's very distinctive. The polish is the result of vast amounts of labour and it cannot be reproduced naturally, so the axe fragment is very distinctive." Made of basalt rock, it was found among artefacts in a remote rock shelter in the northwest Kimberley region in the 90s. In 2014 University of Sydney archaeologists took an interest in it. Experts say the find shows that early Aboriginal settlements were more advanced than first thought.