Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/22097
Title: Aboriginal Memories of Inundation of the Australian Coast Dating from More than 7000 Years Ago
Contributor(s): Nunn, Patrick  (author); Reid, Nicholas J  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1080/00049182.2015.1077539
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/22097
Abstract: Stories belonging to Australian Aboriginal groups tell of a time when the former coastline of mainland Australia was inundated by rising sea level. Stories are presented from 21 locations from every part of this coastline. In most instances it is plausible to assume that these stories refer to events that occurred more than about 7000 years ago, the approximate time at which the sea level reached its present level around Australia. They therefore provide empirical corroboration of postglacial sea-level rise. For each of the 21 locations, the minimum water depth (below the present sea level) needed for the details of the particular group of local-area stories to be true is calculated. This is then compared with the sea-level envelope for Australia (Lewis et al., Quaternary Science Reviews 74, 2013), and maximum and minimum ages for the most recent time that these details could have been observed are calculated. This method of dating Aboriginal stories shows that they appear to have endured since 7250–13 070 cal years bp (5300–11 120 bc). The implications of this extraordinary longevity of oral traditions are discussed, including those aspects of Aboriginal culture that ensured effective transgenerational communication and the possibility that traditions of comparable antiquity may exist in similar cultures.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Geographer, 47(1), p. 11-47
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0004-9182
1465-3311
Field of Research (FOR): 209999 Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
200406 Language in Time and Space (incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)
200319 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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