The Oldest Existing Culture Goes Back 12,000 Years

Communities and their cultural and religious practices change over time, as conditions change and cultures split or merge with others. Old rituals are lost to time and new practices rise. But a recent discovery in Australia may peg the Aboriginal GunaiKurnai people as having the oldest continuing cultural practices in the world.

Two fireplaces were discovered buried in Cloggs Cave near Buchan, Victoria. These were not fireplaces for cooking or heating; they are very small and each had a custom-cut stick in it. Modern GunaiKurnai elders recognized an ancient ritual for putting a curse on someone, one that is still taught today. Carbon dating of the sticks and other material place one of the fireplaces at around 11,000 years old, and the other at 12,000 years old! The instructions for the ritual were passed down orally for at least 500 generations. Read about this discovery and what it means at the Conversation. -via Strange Company


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Next week I am attending the Oregon Country Fair. It is on land that has been continually inhabited for at least 12,000 years, but the natives were driven off in the last century. Now it is owned and maintained by hippies, but anytime someone digs a hole, there's a good chance they'll find an ancient camas oven or spear point.
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