Australia's Isolation Katherine Spencer

When the first humans began to migrate out of Africa, most of them went towards Asia and developed their settlements in those areas. The interlocking lands and waterways provided the necessary means of communication between these cultures which laid out the foundation for the societies and cultures we have today.

However, another section of humans migrated to Australia where the vast ocean distance created an isolation of settlements that prevented any outside cultures to mingle with the people we now call Aboriginals. This isolation is what provided the Aboriginals the opportunity to keep the purity of their own descent and create hundreds of tribes with unique languages, traditions, and cultures.

Agriculture

There are many factors that differentiate the early Aboriginal settlements from those that occurred in the same era. First, as splinter groups broke off and created their own settlements, those from Eurasia would tend to the land they settled in, developing intensive agricultural technologies such as irrigation systems and relying heavily on maintaining crops and herds for survival.

Australia lacked any crops available to harvest - no grains or maize - and there was no abundance in animals to herd such as cattle, therefore they never obtained the necessary fundamentals for agriculture to develop (Klein).

To this day the Aboriginals have remained a hunter/gatherer society. Generally they splitting up the labor between the genders, but both males and females know how to provide each task.

Politics

Another factor that evolved from isolation was in the thoughts and practices of the Aboriginals. Settlements in Eurasia tended to develop strong forms of government with chiefs, pharaohs and other leaders with political hierarchies whereas the Aboriginals lack these definitive leaders. Instead they break off into hundreds of tribes, each tribe independent from one another down to the smallest details - even the dialects differ. These tribes function on internal codependency from their members.

Religion

Aboriginal belief is unique for its time because it does not place humans apart or above nature or the animal species.

Religion was a big revolutionary factor across the world during this time and the Aboriginals had a distinctly unique approach to their religious side. They call it 'The Dreamtime'. The Dreamtime is in reference to how the Earth, humans, and other creatures began. They believe we as humans all sprung up out of various forms of nature and reduce back to nature when we depart from the land (Villanueva Siasco).

Contrasts and Parallels

The Aboriginals never hit the iconic "bronze age" that swept across Eurasia. Australia lacked the sedimentary materials to have this revolution just as they were lacking in agriculture. They utilized the sharp edges of natural rock faces to hone their weapons and other tools (Monroe).

Expression through art was alive in Eurasia as well as in Australia. While pottery never became prominent for the Aboriginals, both areas conveyed their traditions through paintings on cave walls and rocks. Sculptures depicting deities and women were common between both civilizations. Since the Aboriginals did not have access to the stone and metal that Eurasia was used to, their statues were carved from wood and hand painted. Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Mediterranean has various metal statues in accordance with their stone and wood models (Fernandez-Armest).

The two photos on the bottom left are examples of the Aboriginal design. The two photos on the right show the chiseled stonework from the early Mesopotamian age.

One outstanding difference between these two regions of the world is the utter lack of literature within the Aboriginal culture. Their spoken language is so young it has hardly had time to develop, let alone be conveyed through written word (Klein). Most of what we know from the early time in Eurasia is due to their studious act of record keeping. Greece is renowned for their stories and China's religious schools were carefully dictated (Fernandez-Armest).

Unique features

Known for its low, warbling sound, the Didgeridoo is a unique musical instrument traditionally carved from wood that originated from Aboriginal Australia. It is used in many of their religious ceremonies and traditions. It has become widely popular in the modern world.

WORKS CITED

Fernandez-Armest, Felipe. The World: A History, 3e. V1, n.d. / Pearson

Klein, Christopher. "DNA Study Finds Aboriginal Australians World's Oldest Civilization." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 23 Sept. 2016. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Monroe, M H. "Aboriginal History of Australia." Australia: The Land Where Time Began, 15 Nov. 2008, Accessed 16 Feb. 2017.

Villanueva Siasoco, Ricco. "Aboriginal Australia." InfoPlease, Sandbox Networks Inc., Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.

Credits:

Created with images by sandid - "sunset sky clouds" • stevepaustin - "Aborigine at Echo Point, Katoomba" • Sam Howzit - "Didgeridoos" • NickiMM - "The Didgeridoo"

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