An extraordinary new finding may be one of the earliest tools every created by man.
Scientists in Australia may have just found the oldest axe ever discovered.
The artifact dates between 46,000 and 49,000 years ago, and is the earliest example of an axe with a handle anywhere else on the planet, according to a Australian National University statement.
That means aboriginal axes far predated that of those found in Japan, as those had only been dated back 35,000 years, and in most countries they usually are no more than 10,000 years old. In fact, it comes shortly after people first arrived in Australia, which is believed to have been about 50,000 years ago.
Scientists found these ancient fragments in Windjana Gorge National Park, which is located in Western Australia. They were sent to the University of Sydney for analysis.
“The question of when axes were invented has been pursued for decades, since archaeologists discovered that in Australia axes were older than in many other places. Now we have a discovery that appears to answer the question,” Professor Peter Hiscock from the University of Sydney said in the statement. “Axes were only made in the tropical north. These differences between northern Australia, where axes were always used, and southern Australia, where they were not, originated around the time of colonisation and persisted until the last few thousand years when axes began to be made in most southern parts of mainland Australia.”
Added Professor Sue O’Connor from the ANU School of Culture, History and Language: “Australian stone artefacts have often been characterised as being simple. But clearly that’s not the case when you have these hafted axes earlier in Australia than anywhere else in the world.”