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Zilch5Offline
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PostPosted: 03-08-2013 01:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, no, not "everything" is sacred to them. There are certain sites that have specific significance. It even happens here in Sydney - water and cable companies blithely drilling through or digging up Aboriginal rock art and other "sacred" sites.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 10-08-2013 12:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Early civilisation sleeping giant waits off north west coast
August 1st, 2013 in Space & Earth / Earth Sciences

Early civilisation sleeping giant waits off north west coast

The untold story of how ancient Australians once walked a vast submerged sand plain dissected by rivers and rugged outcrops awaits discovery off WA's north-west coast, according to a leading expert from The University of Western Australia.

Dr Ingrid Ward has spent the last eight years in the UK, where the creation of three-dimensional reconstructions of the submerged landscape of Europe's North Sea has helped bring to life a wealth of existing and new archaeological finds and fossils, including Palaeolithic hand-axes, Mesolithic bone and antler implements, and fossil mammoth, elk and other fauna. Yet almost nothing is known about the submerged landscapes of the southern hemisphere.

Now based at UWA, Dr Ward is confident that there are equally amazing landscapes waiting to be discovered 20km off the north-west Australian coastline and 30m below sea level around the Dampier Archipelago.
High-resolution surveys for oil and gas development reveal evidence for past coastal lagoons, salt marshes and river channels: environments which together may have combined to support Aboriginal communities. These surveys also reveal drowned and hardened sand dunes which could contain artefacts linked to Aboriginal cultures more than 7000 years ago.

Sea levels have risen over the past 20,000 years so that old coastal hills became surrounded by sea and cut-off from the mainland. Lowlands that once connected hills became permanently submerged. Similar changes occurred in many other parts of the world, and such submerged landscapes have been explored in Europe and the Mediterranean, leading to astounding archaeological discoveries.

"Australia has the advantage of having an extraordinary amount of living history still available in rock art and knowledge handed down by Indigenous elders," Dr Ward said. "Ultimately what needs to be done is to create a 3-D visualisation of what the landscape looked like before it was submerged and to link this with the traditional knowledge and archaeological evidence on the islands and adjacent mainland so we can determine how people lived. With high-resolution airborne surveying, an initial map of the area could be obtained within weeks.

"WA is unique in having one of the most stable coastlines in the world, relatively uncomplicated by tectonics, so might produce a record of sea-level change that goes back far beyond 10,000 years," Dr Ward said. "It's mainly through oil and gas industry development that we are able to gather the information to find out about these things. We want to collaborate further with industry and indigenous communities to help us to begin to understand more about past human use of Western Australia's submerged landscapes."
Provided by University of Western Australia

"Early civilisation sleeping giant waits off north west coast." August 1st, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-08-early-civilisation-giant-north-west.html
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 10-08-2013 13:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

ramonmercado wrote:
Quote:
Early civilisation sleeping giant waits off north west coast
August 1st, 2013 in Space & Earth / Earth Sciences

Early civilisation sleeping giant waits off north west coast

...

"Early civilisation sleeping giant waits off north west coast." August 1st, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-08-early-civilisation-giant-north-west.html

Haven't quite grasped the meaning of the word, 'civilisation', in this one, I fear.

Quote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization

Civilization or civilisation generally refers to polities which combine three basic institutions: a ceremonial centre, a system of writing, and a city. The term is used to contrast with other types of communities including hunter-gathers, nomadic pastoralists and tribal-villages. Civilizations have more densely populated settlements, characterized by a ruling elite, and subordinate urban and rural populations, which, by the division of labour, engage in intensive agriculture, mining, small-scale manufacture and trade. Civilization concentrates power, extending man's control over both nature, and over other human beings.[1]

...

No offence to indigenous Australians, or their ancestors, but a hunter-gatherer culture, no matter how successful, or sophisticated, wouldn't count as a civilisation. They may well have had ceremonial centres, even a system of pictorial writing, but no 'cities' to speak of.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 10-08-2013 17:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

If this was on FB someone would accuse you of being racist!

I take your point, unless there was an advanced culture in the region unknown to history.
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skinnyOffline
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PostPosted: 11-08-2013 15:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, factually he's correct. Politically, he's correct. It's true the first australians didn't build cities. "Advanced culture" however is politically loaded. They upheld a continuous system of social complexity and environmental understanding that enabled them to maintain their culture for tens of thousands of years until civilisation came rolling in. Civilisation challenged and then destroyed their traditions within 100 years or less. The gross power of civilisation steamrolled their entire way of life and left them a reduced and diminished people. There was war, but it was very one-sided and the horror of their suffering was swept under the rug and promptly forgotten. Guns, germs and steel. They withered very quickly. Easy win. Civilisation 1, HGers 0. 'High' culture? They didn't even see that. The vanguard of the gun brutes ensured that there was no legitimate resistance remaining when the civilised people followed up and settled the landscape in peace. There's pretty much where it remains to this day. Their high culture is gone, but they as a distinct group of cultures survive and endure, despite civilisation and also because of it. It was very easy for civilisation to wipe their story from the land, but enough knowledge of their prior understanding remained that some of us were able to learn how to read the traces, and their heritage is written all over the country. It is still there for those with eyes to see.

But no cities.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 11-08-2013 16:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a very interesting point here with respect to what does or doesn't constitute 'civilization'. As Pietro_Mercurios pointed out, there's a more or less stable set of criteria that's been used to date. These criteria, one must note, were assembled by and reflective of the societies whose members enumerated them - making them as much an exercise in self-anointment as clear-eyed analysis.

The classic criteria are all based on coordinated collective artifice as manifested within the retrospective horizon recognized by proto-Western culture at the time of self-anointment (i.e., only as far back in time as, for example, ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt). In other words, the criteria for 'civilization' reflected key elements of those specimens which (a) the criteria-setters recognized from a limited set of historical precedents and (b) reflected what the criteria-setters took to underpin their own self-ascribed status as 'civilized'.

More recent discoveries and analyses have challenged the black / white distinction imposed by these classical criteria. For example, there's a school of thought which claims the Mayan 'civilization' represented localized city-nodes which only loosely coordinated / controlled a relatively decentralized, and much broader, network of 'non-agricultural / non-urbanized' populations. More pointedly, the evidence to date seems to indicate the megalithic ritual center of Göbekli Tepe was sustained by pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer populations.

My point is that the classical benchmark for ascribing 'civilization' is self-serving, based on an obsolete limited viewpoint, and in need of re-thinking. I'm not claiming the classical 'Big 3' characterization is bogus per se. I'm only claiming it needs to be contextualized in a classification schema that affords more shades or levels than the simplistic black / white dichotomy the West has embraced for some time now.
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skinnyOffline
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 00:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well stated.
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 02:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

EnolaGaia wrote:
There's a very interesting point here with respect to what does or doesn't constitute 'civilization'. As Pietro_Mercurios pointed out, there's a more or less stable set of criteria that's been used to date. These criteria, one must note, were assembled by and reflective of the societies whose members enumerated them - making them as much an exercise in self-anointment as clear-eyed analysis.

The classic criteria are all based on coordinated collective artifice as manifested within the retrospective horizon recognized by proto-Western culture at the time of self-anointment (i.e., only as far back in time as, for example, ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt). In other words, the criteria for 'civilization' reflected key elements of those specimens which (a) the criteria-setters recognized from a limited set of historical precedents and (b) reflected what the criteria-setters took to underpin their own self-ascribed status as 'civilized'.

More recent discoveries and analyses have challenged the black / white distinction imposed by these classical criteria. For example, there's a school of thought which claims the Mayan 'civilization' represented localized city-nodes which only loosely coordinated / controlled a relatively decentralized, and much broader, network of 'non-agricultural / non-urbanized' populations. More pointedly, the evidence to date seems to indicate the megalithic ritual center of Göbekli Tepe was sustained by pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer populations.

My point is that the classical benchmark for ascribing 'civilization' is self-serving, based on an obsolete limited viewpoint, and in need of re-thinking. I'm not claiming the classical 'Big 3' characterization is bogus per se. I'm only claiming it needs to be contextualized in a classification schema that affords more shades or levels than the simplistic black / white dichotomy the West has embraced for some time now.

Fascinating.

Which 'school of thought' is claiming that Mayan culture was, "loosely coordinated" and "controlled a relatively decentralized, and much broader, network of 'non-agricultural / non-urbanized' populations."? How would this put them outside the conventional classification for what constitutes a civilisation? Also, to what extent would this offset the fact that, at the height of their culture, not only did the Mayans practice agriculture, but they also appear to have managed to maintain a high population density through the careful application of highly organised water management strategies?

Are you suggesting that my post, about what I consider to be an inexact use of the term 'civilisation', was incorrect, or that it displayed a "proto-Western" bias?

Would you care to expand on your claims, perhaps with some sources, quotes and links?
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 02:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I stated, my point is that an ascription of 'civilization' is probably more reasonably construed as something involving a cumulative accretion of features rather than a simple threshold governed by a fixed set of post-hoc (and arguably prejudiced) characteristics.

Insofar as most of my library (and all the electronic files on 5 of my 6 computers) were lost in a residential fire circa 3 months ago, I can only work from memory. As I recall, it was during the late 1980's or early 1990's that some archaeologists proposed the Mayan 'civilization' hadn't been (or at least hadn't always been) characterized by populations localized in the 'city' complexes, and that during its formative phases the Mayan culture had operated as a loose-knit distributed network coordinated from what were ostensibly ceremonial / administrative centers (as contrasted with full-fledged 'cities'). As I remember it, this proposal was put forward in the context of explaining the Mayan collapse - in effect claiming much of the participant population wasn't tied to the known cities at all, and it was only the urbanized 'tip of the loosely integrated iceberg' which underwent a catastrophic fall.
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 02:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

EnolaGaia wrote:
As I stated, my point is that an ascription of 'civilization' is probably more reasonably construed as something involving a cumulative accretion of features rather than a simple threshold governed by a fixed set of post-hoc (and arguably prejudiced) characteristics.

...

Is this just your own opinion, or are you referencing a particular school of thought? Are you suggesting that, by these criteria, the original indigenous peoples of Australia can be considered to have had a civilisation after all? Albeit one without actual cities, or evidence of settled urban culture.

Would this mean that the term, 'civilisation', has been rendered essentially meaningless?
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 03:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

No ... I'm only claiming it may not be reasonable to judge all cultures' relative status with respect to a single threshold. I'm suggesting that some cultures *may* have been operating in a manner somewhere 'beyond' the simple hunter-gatherer level, yet still not as functionally integrated as our Western-set threshold would demand for qualification as a 'civilization'. All I'm saying is that the black / white distinction that's held sway for so long is probably too simplistic.
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 03:24    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, 'civilisation' suggests the Latin term, 'civis', the Roman for citizen. The same root as for city. Call me old fashioned, pedantic, or politically incorrect, if you will. Whatever other implied baggage the word carries, its use to describe a culture without cities, or some sort of settled urban infrastructure, just seems wrong to me.
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EnolaGaiaOffline
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 03:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not going to call you any of those things! Wink

I don't have any problem with reserving the term 'civilization' for any society manifesting the three classical Grand Criteria.

... So long as we adequately accommodate / name the sort of grey area(s) or phase(s) through which any such society passed to get to that status. I'm quite confident there was a progression involved, and classically-defined 'civilizations' didn't just appear overnight.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 12-08-2013 10:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Aboriginal rock art may depict first sea arrivals
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/aboriginal-rock-art-may-depict-first-ship-arrivals.htm
BY:AMY MIDDLETON WITH AAP | AUGUST-2-2013

Ancient rock paintings discovered on an Australian Geographic expedition offer a new view of history.

Rock art discovered on an island off the NT may depict the first Europeans to arrive in Australia. (Credit: Mike Owen)

)
AN EXPEDITION TO A REMOTE Northern Territory island has uncovered rare indigenous rock art that could depict the first seafarers to reach Australian shores.

The artworks show vessels which may pre-date the arrival of Dutch explorers in the 17th century, as well as a steamship, and figures wearing hats and trousers.

The seven-day expedition, sponsored by the Australian Geographic Society, headed to the Wessel Islands last month where five 1000-year-old African copper coins were discovered by a RAAF serviceman in 1944.

Ancient rock paintings reveal early ships

The expedition team, led by Professor Ian McIntosh, an Australian anthropologist at Indiana University in the US, searched the island for clues, eventually coming upon several caves filled with the Aboriginal rock paintings.

Among whales, snakes and fish, the ancient but as yet un-dated art depicts white men with trousers and guns, as well as many ships of different sizes.

Mike Owen, expedition leader and heritage consultant in Darwin, NT, says the find is “spectacular”, adding that the most fascinating artwork depicts a dedicated steamship with a visible propeller.


Figures wearing hats and trousers are depicted among the artwork. (Credit: Mike Owen)
“There are numerous vessels of diverse configuration, including a nice little pearling lugger,” Mike told Australian Geographic. “To date no-one has reported ever seeing a ship with a propeller in cave art before, so it could be most important.”

The rock paintings, together with the coins from the ancient African kingdom of Kilwa, have led to speculation that the northern parts of Australia may have been visited by seafarers before 1606, when Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon became the first known European to reach Australian shores.

Wessel Islands discovery could rewrite history

The expedition also found a piece of timber believed to be deck bracing for an old sailing ship. Though it is yet to be dated, the timber could support the theory of a shipwreck during which the coins washed ashore.

Tim Stone, the group’s geomorphologist, speculates the coins could be from an Arab ship, similar to a wreck discovered off Sumatra in 1998. Tim adds the coins could also be "from a Portuguese ship, as it is possible that they were making contact with Aborigines in the north and may have had Kilwa coins in their possession after destroying the African kingdom in 1505.”

Supporting the shipwreck theory, Mike says one vessel appears to be on rocks with “her back broken, which explains how the artist knew that there was a propeller below the waterline.”

“As it stands there are still many questions yet to be answered,” says Mike. “We have certainly refined the questions and will soon be in a position to report back.”

A full report from this expedition will appear in the Australian Geographic print edition in early 2014
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Zilch5Offline
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PostPosted: 16-09-2013 01:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

More strange coin finds...

Quote:
How did medieval coins from East Africa end up on a remote island off the Northern Territory?

There is a slender island off Australia's northern coast, a place of taboo and old grief, where the wind blows hard and crocodiles swim in the warm sea. An island of sharp rock and pale sand, of paperbark swamps and swarming green ants, deserted now but still home to the sacred places of the Yolngu Aboriginal people of north-east Arnhem Land who once lived there. The walls of their hidden caves are vivid with red and yellow drawings of ships and strangers, of sails and guns, archives of a crowded history. It is a lonely island, 11 rough hours' sailing from the mainland, where 69 years ago a young serviceman from Sydney walked along the beach and felt something small and hard underfoot. In the sand were four worn coins, nearby, five more. He picked them up, put them in a tobacco tin and took them home. Then he forgot about them.

Many years after Morry Isenberg arrived home from Marchinbar Island, where he was part of a RAAF radar unit during World War II, he remembered that tin. He had the coins valued, was assured they were worthless and, disappointed, donated them to a museum, where they disappeared into storage again. But before he handed them over, four of the nine were identified as 17th- and 18th-century Dutch coins. Similar coins had been found in Australia before. The other five, though, were far stranger - coins minted up to 1000 years ago in a fabled medieval city state on a remote East African island. Only two others have ever been found outside East Africa. And yet somehow, inexplicably, here were five of them, scattered on an empty beach thousands of kilometres away across the Indian Ocean.

The conundrum of how coins from the island sultanate of Kilwa Kisiwani, off the coast of modern-day Tanzania, could possibly journey to the island of Marchinbar, off the coast of the Northern Territory, captivates and confounds everyone who hears of them. Australian anthropologist Ian McIntosh has been trying to explore Marchinbar ever since he first learnt of the coins almost 30 years ago.
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In July, armed with Isenberg's original map, the 56-year-old finally succeeded, leading the first expedition to Marchinbar, where he and six others combed the island feverishly for a week. Though they didn't find any ancient coins, the team returned with a haul of intriguing shipwreck debris, along with news of rock art depicting numerous different types of ships.

It's still unclear whether the Kilwa and Dutch coins arrived on the island together, perhaps carried as a sailor's precious talisman lost at sea or given as trinkets to Yolngu by seafarers. Some speculate, more explosively, that the Kilwa coins arrived much earlier, and hint at far earlier contact with Australia, perhaps pre-dating the official European discovery of Australia 400 years ago. "A Kilwa coin in Kilwa is not worth much," says McIntosh. "But a Kilwa coin in Arnhem Land is priceless for what it might tell us about our past."

The five African coins he found are about the size of a dollar coin and very thin, their edges nibbled by time. Their worn surfaces record the names of sultans and have pious, rhyming inscriptions flowing from front to back - "Ali son of al-Hasan trusts in the Master of Bounties" reads one in translation. Made of lowly copper, they would most likely have been small change on Kilwa, where they still wash up on the beaches, says Adelaide-based archaeologist and East African coinage specialist John Perkins.

The coins are a mix of ages, likely to date from the late 11th century up to 1340, depending on which sultan they were minted for, says Perkins, and were never intended for foreign trade or travel. Only two others have been found elsewhere, in Oman and Zimbabwe. Notes Perkins, "To find coins which do not travel in one of the most remote places on Earth? You couldn't make that up."

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/out-of-africa-20130909-2tes7.html#ixzz2f0uQXcfl


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