The migrations started 70,000 to 40,000 years ago. Whether these first migrations involved one or several successive waves and distinct peoples is still a matter for some academia debate, as is its timing. The minimum widely accepted timeframe places this event at 40,000 to 43,000 years ago; the upper range supposed by others is 60,000 to 70,000 years ago. The Australian aborigine lifestyle is disappearing. Almost!! In the homeland, some of the ancient ways live on. Australian aborigine language is often a sign language instead of verbal communication. They did not develop a system of writing.
The largest migration of these aborigines was achieved during the closing stages of the Pleistocene Age (around 10,000 years ago) when sea levels were typically much lower than they are today. Repeated episodes of extended glaciation resulted in decreases of sea levels by some 100-150 m. The continental coastline, therefore, extended much farther out into the Timor Sea than it does today, and Australia and New Guinea formed a single landmass known as Sahul. It was connected by an extensive land bridge across the Arafura Sea, Gulf of Carpentaria, and Torres Strait.
It is theorized that these original people first navigated the shorter distances by simple boats and rafts from and between the Sunda Islands to reach Sahul; then via the land bridge to spread out through the continent. Archaeological evidence indicated human habitation at the upper Swan River, western Australia, by about 40,000 years ago; Tasmania (also at that time connected by a land bridge) was reached at least 30,000 years ago.
The ancestral Australian aboriginal people were thus long established and continued to develop, diversify, and settle through much of the continent. As the sea levels again rose at the terminus of the most recent glacial period some 10,000 years ago, the Australian continent once more became a separated landmass. However, the newly formed 150 km wide Torres Strait with its chain of islands still provided the means for cultural contact and trade between New Guinea and the northern Cape York Peninsula.
The Melanesian Torres Strait Island people were established in the Torres Strait Islands, and commerce and contact was continued via this route although there is some evidence to suggest immediate influence extended much farther south. A more sporadic contact along the northern Australian coast was maintained by seafarers across the Timor and Arafura Seas, with substantial evidence of Macassan contact with Australia in the centuries prior to European arrival, and there is also evidence of earlier contact and exchanges by other groups. However, these exchanges do not appear to have involved any extended settlement or migrations of non-aboriginal people to the region.
Skulls were found that are the same skulls found in Europe, Africa, and Indonesia. Aborigines of Australia share key skeletal and dental traits with the pre-modern people who inhabited Indonesia. Some Australian aborigines have red hair, as seen in Neandertals, and some have blonde hair, as seen in Part IV of this blog under Denisovans. There has been speculation that some Australian aborigines became pigmys, but there is no proof to that idea.
There are about 500 different types of aboriginal people in Australia each with their own cultural background. The Australian aborigine culture includes a number of practices and ceremonies centered on a belief called “The Dreamtime”. Dreamtime (much as spiritual meditation) is a place beyond time and space in which a past, present, and future exist wholly as one. Tribe people could enter this alternate universe through dreams or various states of altered consciousness, as well as death; Dreamtime being considered the final destination before reincarnation.
This is an art form of Dreamtime.
The Australian aborigine plays a musical instrument called a Didgeridoo. A Didgeridoo is a unique instrument and is commonly considered the national instrument of the aborigines. It was traditionally played by Arnhem Land people such as the Yolngu, and then only by the men.
Clapping Sticks are probably the more often used musical instrument; especially because they assist in maintaining rhythm. . . much as drums do in other forms or nationality of music. Australian aborigines today play a style of aboriginal rock. In 1997, the Australian State and Federal governments set up the Aboriginal Center for the Performing Arts (ACPA) to preserve and nurture aboriginal music. This music is played across all styles and genres from traditional to contemporary. Musicians have branched into rock and roll, hip hop, and reggae. Hip hop music is helping preserve their indigenous languages. Following is an image showing the Didgeridoo and Clapping Sticks:
The history of the Boomerang may not have had its roots in Australia with the aborigines, but it was certainly developed to a better degree of use by them. There appears to be some history of use in Europe as a hunting stick, and it is known that King Tut of Egypt had something similar among his possessions. The Boomerang was brought to Australia by the migrators and was more fully developed there to its present state of efficiency as a tool for hunting. The aborigines designed the Boomerang to return to the hunter. It was and is also used as a sport and as a weapon. The following is a sample of the Boomerangs which are designed by the aborigines:
There is new evidence that the Australian aborigines migrated some 30,000 years ago, more or less. to Brazil and Chile in South America. In 1974-1975, an almost complete female skeleton of an Australian aborigine was unearthed in Brazil. The skeleton is about 12,000 years old. The Indian migrations shall be discussed more fully in the next months.
One day, in the far, far future, Australia shall gradually move into the borders of the western part of the United States which shall contribute to the migration of humans over land. This would be due to the oceanic plate movements of the Mariana Strait.
I hope to be with you next month when we shall investigate, at length, the history of the American Indian which includes South America, Central America, and North America.