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Dating the First Australians

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Richard Gillespie*
Dizzy Heights, Ripps Road, Stokers Siding NSW 2484, Australia. Email:
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The dating of selected archaeological and megafaunal sites from the Australian region is reviewed, with emphasis on recent work at some of the oldest sites. Improved chemical procedures with decreased analytical background for 14C analysis, combined with new luminescence dating methods, has confirmed many of the results processed decades ago and significantly increased the maximum age for some others. The oldest occupation horizons in four different regions reliably dated by defendable multi-method results are in the range 42–48,000 calendar years ago, overlapping with the age range for similarly well-dated undisturbed sites containing the youngest extinct megafauna. There is less secure evidence suggesting some archaeology may be earlier and some megafauna may have survived later than this period.

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