Ancient campfires show early population numbers 14/9/2015

RADIO carbon data from prehistoric occupation sites are providing insights into Australia’s fluctuating human population levels tens of thousands of years ago.

ANU archaeologist Alan Williams used radio carbon dating technology to examine charcoal dates from more than 1000 prehistoric campfires and based on this he says populations appear to have increased steadily until 25,000 years ago.

Dr Williams compared these dates with climatic change profiles provided by a recent synthesis of Australia’s palaeoclimate from the OZ-INTIMATE (Australasian INTegration of Ice core, Marine and TErrestial records) project.

Co-author UWA archaeologist Winthrop Professor Peter Veth says Dr Williams’ comparison showed a clear correlation between datasets.

Science Network WA [read this story]