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TOPIC: The First Australians


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RE: The First Australians
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A project at school in Sydney is leading efforts to revive an extinct Aboriginal language that was lost after European colonisation. Chifley College is teaching Dharug to not only its indigenous students but others from Africa and the Pacific Islands as well as non-indigenous Australians.
The sounds of a lost language echo across a packed classroom in suburban Sydney as secondary school students help to revive an ancient part of Australia's indigenous culture.

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Archaeological mission at Great Barrier Island
A four-way partnership in protecting koiwi tangata/human remains is underway in what shapes as a race against time on Great Barrier Island.
An archaeological excavation involving the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT), Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and local iwi Ngati Rehua began yesterday (Sunday) to assess the extent of koiwi tangata being unearthed and ensure that appropriate cultural protocols were followed.

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Austronesian language family
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New research into language evolution suggests most Pacific populations originated in Taiwan around 5,200 years ago. Scientists at The University of Auckland have used sophisticated computer analyses on vocabulary from 400 Austronesian languages to uncover how the Pacific was settled.

"The Austronesian language family is one of the largest in the world, with 1200 languages spread across the Pacific. The settlement of the Pacific is one of the most remarkable prehistoric human population expansions. By studying the basic vocabulary from these languages, such as words for animals, simple verbs, colours and numbers, we can trace how these languages evolved. The relationships between these languages give us a detailed history of Pacific settlement" - Professor Russell Gray of the Department of Psychology.

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Vaka Moana
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Austronesians were first to sail the seas
At least 2000 years before the Vikings invented their long boats, a people who shared a language and culture we know as Austronesian set sail to conquer the final frontier.
Bit by bit, they sailed towards the sunrise, island-hopping eastwards across the Pacific. Their journey took them by canoe via New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, Easter Island, the coast of South America and, just 700 years ago, the last uninhabited islands capable of sustaining human life: New Zealand.
Other Austronesians were spreading westwards across the Indian Ocean. Eventually they would reach Madagascar and, it is presumed, Africa itself.

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RE: The First Australians
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An extraordinary collection of ancient rock art have suggested that the people of northern Australia have been interacting with seafaring visitors from Asia and Europe for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years.
According to a report in The New Zealand Herald, the paintings were found in the Arnhem Land, which juts out into the Arafura Sea at the top of Australia.
Alongside ancient paintings of thylacines, a mammal long extinct on the mainland, are images documenting modern-day inventions - a car, a bicycle wheel, a biplane and a rifle, as well as portraits of a missionary and a sea captain.

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Narrabeen Man
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He was killed by a barrage of spear thrusts and an axe blow to the head - a payback punishment.
That is how Sydney's oldest known ex-resident - Narrabeen Man - died at the hands of his own tribeScientists have revealed that bones found under a beachside bus shelter three years ago have now been carbon dated at more than 4000 years old.
The bones give a rare insight into the punishment rituals of Aborigines before the arrival of Europeans.


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A University of Adelaide palaeontologist has helped to uncover compelling new evidence that New Zealand was discovered 1000 years later than commonly believed.
Trevor Worthy is part of an international team of four researchers who have used radiocarbon dating of Pacific rat bones and rat-gnawed native seeds to show that humans arrived on New Zealand about 1280-1300AD, not 200BC as previously thought.

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Scientists have unearthed evidence of a 4000-year-old murder by studying a burnt skeleton found beneath a bus shelter in northern Sydney.
Peter Veth, an archaeologist with the National Centre of Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra, said that the victim might have been a tall, well-built man in his mid-30s at the time of his death.
He said that the victim was attacked by spear-wielding attackers, who then set his body alight and left it unburied on the crest of a sand dune.

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If it happened today, it would be a brutal murder; 4000 years ago, it was a ritual killing.
The discovery of the body of an Aboriginal man from that time who was attacked, set alight and abandoned on a coastal dune is the first archaeological evidence in Australia for death by spearing. The body was found beneath a Sydney bus shelter in Narrabeen on Sydney's northern beaches by a team led by archaeologist Josephine McDonald of the Australian National University in Canberra.

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Aboriginal sites
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Archaeologist Sue Feary from the Department of Environment and Climate Change said yesterday work on the shared pathway being built from Dalmeny to Narooma will resume as soon as investigations of Aboriginal cultural and archaeological sites have been completed.
Ms Feary said the NSW south coast had a rich Aboriginal heritage, with evidence of at least 20,000 years of Aboriginal occupation. She said evidence such as shell middens, assemblages of stone artefacts and scarred trees give a fascinating glimpse into the past.

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