After using a process called optically stimulated luminescence to date the tools, scientists were stunned: the oldest artifacts may date back 40,000 years, more than twice as old as expected. It may be the oldest such discovery on the southern area of the planet and offers a glimpse into an unknown parts of world history and the spread of humans across the Earth
The discovery of what researchers are calling a "tribal meeting ground" has stopped bridge construction over the Derwent River.
"A bridge over the top of this important site is only going to disturb it," said aboriginal heritage officer Aaron Everett. "It takes away from the outlook of the whole site and as far as we are concerned the only option is to divert the road."
"The bottom line is that nothing must go within a bull's roar of the site," the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center's Michael Mansell. "In terms of culture and history, this region now represents Tasmania's Valley of the Kings."
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Modern human beings are believed to have descended from a common African ancestor about 50,000 - 100,000 years ago. Human artifacts dating 40,000 to 50,000 years have been found in Australia, north of Tasmania. By comparison, modern humans are believed to have reached North America 14,000 - 15,000 years ago.