Flaked stone tools used by Aboriginal people up to 40,000 years ago have been uncovered during major roadworks in Gippsland.
Forty-nine of the artefacts were discovered during the early planning works for the removal of a section of the regional outfall sewer between Traralgon and Sale.
Cultural heritage experts from the Gunai Kurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) and an archaeologist were called in to salvage a further 33 stone tools.
GLaWAC spokesman Stephen Hood said layers of earth were removed with shovels, 10 centimetres at a time.
The sewer works were necessary as part of the Princes Highway duplication at Flynn
Four pits were dug in increments to recover the fragments of stone, which vary in size and are estimated to be up to 40,000 years old
They have been photographed and documented and will be placed back in the earth near a local scar tree.
“We will repatriate those artefacts back to the traditional owners and they will do some analysis of them before we rebury them,” Gippsland Water Senior Environmental Scientist Deb Archer said.
To the untrained eye, the fragments of stone look like everyday rocks, but Mr Hood said the artefacts helped paint a clearer picture of his ancestors’ movements through the area.
“It gives us an understanding of how long our ancestors have been in this area and where they travelled,” Mr Hood said.
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