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Lake Mungo, Archaeology of
chapterposted on 17.11.2020, 05:32 by Nicola Stern
Lake Mungo came to the attention of the international paleoanthropological community during the early 1970s following the widely publicized discovery of what were then the oldest, well-dated traces of human activity on the Australian continent, including the oldest-known ritual human burials (Bowler et al. 1970, 2003; Barbetti and Allen 1972; Bowler and Thorne 1976). However, these are only a few of the thousands of activity traces preserved in the 33 km-long transverse, crescentic dune (lunette) that bounds the eastern margin of Lake Mungo; and Lake Mungo is only one of 17 large and numerous smaller overflow lakes that together cover an area of approximately 2,400 km2 on the southeast margin of the continent’s arid core (Fig. 1). These lakes are now dry, but at times in the past when temperatures and evaporation were reduced, they were filled via a former channel of the Lachlan River, which flows westward from the Australian Alps.