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The kangaroo bone was said to be consistent with those used for facial decoration. Image courtesy: Australian National University
The kangaroo bone was said to be consistent with those used for facial decoration. Image courtesy: Australian National University

Bone revealed as Australia’s oldest jewellery piece

A kangaroo bone believed to be more than 46,000-years-old has been described as Australia’s oldest-known piece of indigenous jewellery.

The pointed leg bone was discovered by Australian National University (ANU) archaeologists at Carpenter's Gap in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Dr Michelle Langley, ANU researcher. Image courtesy: Australian National University
Dr Michelle Langley, ANU researcher. Image courtesy: Australian National University

According to an ABC report, the ornament was found in the 1990s but was only recently identified as a piece of jewellery.

Researcher Dr Michelle Langley of the ANU School of Culture, History and Language said this was the earliest evidence available that proved Australia's first inhabitants were using bone to make ornaments and tools.

In describing the piece, Langley stated: "It's a shaped point made on kangaroo leg bone, and at each end we can see traces of red ochre."

She added that the jewellery item, found below a deposit dating back 46,000 years, was consistent with those used for facial decoration throughout indigenous Australian history.

"All across Australia both men and women would wear a bone point through their nose identical to this one,” she commented.

“Children in some communities were known to have had their nose pierced quite young, while in others only certain individuals were allowed to adorn themselves in this fashion."

Langley said the location and nature of the jewellery find made it a “very unusual” discovery.

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Sunday, 21 October, 2018 04:06am
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