HISTORIC DIG:Traditional custodians from Gurang Elijah-Baile Blackman and Gabriel Little are proud to work with the Skyringville Shell Midden Archaeological Group at the test pit where fascinating indigenous artefacts are being unearthed.
HISTORIC DIG:Traditional custodians from Gurang Elijah-Baile Blackman and Gabriel Little are proud to work with the Skyringville Shell Midden Archaeological Group at the test pit where fascinating indigenous artefacts are being unearthed. Max Fleet

Coastal dig reveals region's ancient history

ABOUT 2000 years ago the coastal region near Bundaberg would have been a paradise to live in - except for the mosquitoes.

Archaeologist Michael Strong is on a three-day dig of an Aboriginal site near Skyringville, and he said the results showed the abundance of food in the area.

"If you wanted to live anywhere 2000 years ago this would be the place," he said.

"But the mosquitoes are bad."

Mr Stone, whose dig is being financed by the Federal Government through Oceanwatch, is being helped in the dig by local Aborigines familiar with the area.

He said one of the finds they had made was a bungwall fern pounder, which was used to process fishbone ferns which were found in a nearby swamp.

"The ferns were the staple food for many Aboriginal groups living along the coast," he said.

The results of the dig showed there were many food trees in the area and a lot of other food.

"It's only a kilometre away from an ocean beach, and there was a shallow lagoon," he said.

"That would have had fish, turtles and shellfish."

HISTORIC DIG: Traditional custodians from Gurang Gurang Everett Johnson and Edward Terare are proud to work with the Skyringville Shell Midden Archaeological Group at the test pit where fascinating indigenous artefacts are being unearthed. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
HISTORIC DIG: Traditional custodians from Gurang Gurang Everett Johnson and Edward Terare are proud to work with the Skyringville Shell Midden Archaeological Group at the test pit where fascinating indigenous artefacts are being unearthed. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

Mr Strong said two days into the three-day dig they had found about 60 stone artefacts, including a backed blade.

"It's about the size of a matchstick that would have been used as a point for a whole range of different things," he said.

Mr Strong said the excavations showed the site was not a midden, or rubbish dump, but an area where people camped and worked stone.

He said the results of the dig would go into a report.

Aboriginal elder Col Johnson said he was happy with the way the dig was going.

"We knew this stuff had to be here because it is an area where our people would have camped," he said.

"Once we get the report we will decide if it is a significant area.

"This goes back many years, when they do the tests on the stuff it will tell us how long."



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