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Rare Shell Artifacts Discovered in South Australia

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Picture1ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA—According to a statement released by Flinders University, modified freshwater mussel shell objects have been recovered from shell middens along south-central Australia’s Murray River by researchers from Flinders University and Griffith University, in collaboration with the River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation and the Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporation. The shells range in age from 6,000 to 600 years old. Two of them had been perforated, and one has a finely serrated edge. Ngarrindjeri archaeologist Chris Wilson explained that accounts from Aboriginal elders who lived along the Murray River indicate that the perforated shells could have been used as ornaments, for tool stringing, and for fiber scraping, while the serrated shell could be evidence of experimental tinkering, or it may have also been used as an ornament or a food utensil. To read about newly discovered rock art panels that illustrate how ancient Aboriginal Australians envisioned their creation, go to "Letter from Australia: Where the World Was Born." 

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