Ancient plant foods discovered in Arnhem Land

20 February 2020

Australia’s first plant foods – eaten by early populations 65,000 years ago – have been discovered in Arnhem Land.

Preserved as pieces of charcoal, the morsels were recovered from the debris of ancient cooking hearths at the Madjedbebe archaeological site, on Mirarr country in northern Australia.

The UQ-led study published in Nature Communications involved archaeobotanist Anna Florin and a team of archaeologists and Traditional Owners who identified 10 plant foods, including several types of fruits and nuts, underground storage organs (‘roots and tubers’), and palm stem.

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