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4 May 2010
Ancient Tasmanian artifacts threatened by highway construction

A recently discovered Tasmanian aboriginal site is at the center of a dispute between the government  on one hand and archaeologists and members of Tasmania's Aboriginal community on the other. The site, located north of Hobart, lies in the path of a major Tasmanian highway. The site contains approximately 3 million artifacts, some of which are about 40,000 years old. Those who wish the highway bypass to be re-routed contend that its construction could damage the important site, important because the artifacts would provide a rare glimpse of what everyday life was like 40,000 years ago in hunter-gatherer groups not just in Australia, but in other parts of the world as well.
     Most of the artifacts are stone tools used for the tasks of daily living like sharpening and cutting. It is finds like these that are infrequent, according to the site's archaeological director. Tasmania's Department of Infrastructure believes that a bridge over the site is adequate to protect it. A representative of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center states that construction of a bridge and removal of the artifacts are not acceptable solutions. The Tasmanian Heritage Minister will make a decision based on the concerns expressed by all groups.
     
Source: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (26 April 2010)

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