Sunday, July 7, 2013

Discovery in doubt

On April 19, 1770, after mapping the entire coastline of New Zealand, British explorer James Cook (1728-1779) became the first white man to reach Australia. Or did he? A skull discovered in Taree, New South Wales, calls that into question because it belonged to a Caucasian who predated Captain Cook by a century. Local police found the skull in 2011, but realizing it was not that of a recent murder victim, turned it over to archaeologists. Stewart Fallon and his colleagues at Australian National University have now conducted an examination and performed carbon-14 dating on the bone and tooth enamel. Testing showed the skull (PHOTOS HERE) to be that of a European male between the ages of 28 and 65. But the surprising results were the dates that the man was alive. According to one scenario, he may have been born as early as the mid-17th c. and died c. 1700. In fact, the man may have reached Australia after death as a specimen in someone's private skull collection. But expert on Australian history Cassie Mercer points out, "If the skull does pre-date British settlement, it may be a tragic yet fascinating clue to the little-known history of early interactions between First Australians and the outside world." Tragic because the individual – as happened to Capt. Cook in the Hawaiian Islands – may have been killed by the natives.

1 comment:

  1. Many Australians are already aware that it was extremely unlikely that Captain Cook - or Lieutenant Cook as he was then - was the first white person to come to Australia.
    There were Dutch boats from the sixteenth century that have been discovered in Western Australia - on land, not in the sea! And there are Aboriginal cave paintings in the Northern Territory which clearly depict the arrival of a Spanish galleon and its crew, complete with Spanish-style high-heeled boots, which have been dated to a similar time frame.
    I'm not sure why the Cult of Captain Cook has found it necessary to suppress this information.

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