Australia's Not-So-Dry Bones
Christopher Innocent on ancient Australian burial sites.
Recent research by one of Australia's leading archaeologists has opened to question two major historical 'facts' relating to the original inhabitants of the continent: their population at the time of British invasion and the current explanation for major physical differences between two groups who lived in the Murray-Darling River Basin of New South Wales.
The controversy has arisen following the discovery of the country's most extensive Aboriginal burial site by Dr Colin Pardoe, curator of physical anthropology at the South Australian Museum (famous for its ethnographic research into Aboriginal cultures).
Situated in New South Wales at Lake Victoria, near the border with both Victoria and South Australia, the burial site stretches for two miles, contains the remains of at least 10,000 Murray-Darling people and could date back 7,000 years. It is believed that the last burial was in the mid-1800s.