Archaeologists Discover World’s Oldest Axe in Australia

The world's oldest axe fragment, seen here under a microscope, is the size of a thumbnail. (PHOTO CREDIT: Australian Archaeology)
The world’s oldest axe fragment, seen here under a microscope, is the size of a thumbnail. (PHOTO CREDIT: Australian Archaeology)

It’s less than half an inch long, but a small stone chip discovered in western Australia is a piece of the world’s oldest ground-edge axe, an archaeologist at the University of Sydney reports.

In fact, the axe’s creation likely coincides with the general time period when humans arrived on the continent, tens of thousands of years ago.

The axe fragment, which weighs just .16 grams, is nearly 50,000 years old, and was first unearthed at a site in Australia called Carpenter’s Gap in the 1990s. But it’s only recently that, after analysis, archaeologists have announced the significance of the discovery. The results are published in the journal Australian Archaeology.

Peter Hiscock, a professor at the University of Sydney and the lead author on the paper, said that the axe fragment dates to between 45,000 to 49,000 years old.

“This fragment is small, but it’s very distinctive,” Hiscock said in a video explaining the find. “It has a smooth surface, a high polish, that doesn’t occur naturally. It doesn’t occur by accident. Someone has to sit and grind the edge in order to make an axe.”

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SOURCE: Fox News, Rob Verger