Would you expect to find a rainforest sword in a desert creek bed? This discovery was a key milestone in extensive research into the long-distance trading networks between different Indigenous peoples pre-colonisation.

Mithaka woman and Director of the Mithaka Aboriginal Corporation, Trudy Gorringe is pictured holding the sword. Trudy is currently employed as the Ranger Coordinator on Mithaka country. The pride of her work exploring her family’s long history.

This sword was part of a cache of 12 items that were found by locals and handed to Bedourie roadhouse owner Robbie Dare. Upon inspection of the items, Archaeologist Dr Michael Westaway was ‘gobsmacked’. In an article in The Australian (Jamie Walker, 25 November, 2022), Dr Westaway revealed that: “Carbon dating of the rainforest wood, cut from the roots of the riberry tree, suggested it could be up to 350 years old, with a median age of 175 years for sword one and 123 years for sword two. However, the certainty of this was assessed to be 54 per cent. Dr Westaway said the spear provided the stronger lead; its shaft assessed to have a median age of 265 years with a confidence level of 86 per cent.”

Photo Credit: Lyndon Mechielson

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