National Geographic : 1949 Dec
Exploring Stone Age Arnhem Land 757 Groote Eylandt Boys Look at Luxembourg Lads in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE These boys like to discuss things remote from their island world. Some simple words they have learned to read through attending school. Their favorite pastime in the evening is to invade the English superintend ent's homestead and huddle over picture publications. Here they study page 802 of the June, 1948, issue. Yirrkala on the north coast. Here they in vestigated extensive shell heaps (mounds of discarded mollusk shells) up to 200 feet in circumference and 20 feet high. The two scientists hoped that by digging into one or more of these mounds they would obtain evidence regarding the prehistory of the aborigines of the north coast of Australia. The Reverend Thomas H. Hanna, then in charge of the Milingimbi Methodist mission, provided native boys to assist in the excava tions. Two 10-foot-wide trenches were dug through the doughnut-shaped shell heap around a large fresh-water spring hole. This well, only source of fresh water on the island, was the center of all ceremonial and mytho logical clan activities. From the trenches, excavated at one-foot levels, many chipped and polished stone ob jects were recovered. Most important finds were polished stone axes. Tamarind trees serve as the most obvious guide in locating old Malay trepang sites. These trees, foreign to Australian flora, were introduced by Malay fishermen. Although many tamarinds still grew on the mound worked by Setzler and McCarthy, no object of Malay origin came to light. A few Malay potsherds were picked up along the beach half a mile from the mound.