Underwater survey reveals secrets of Australia WWI wreck off PNG

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via Channel NewsAsia, 23 April 2018:

SYDNEY: Researchers Monday (Apr 23) voiced renewed hope of discovering why Australia’s first submarine sank, after a detailed underwater survey of the long-lost wreck off Papua New Guinea led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. HMAS AE1, the first of two E Class submarines built for the Royal Australian Navy, vanished on Sep 14, 1914 near the Duke of York Islands. The disappearance of the sub, carrying 35 crew members from Australia, Britain and New Zealand, was the nation’s most enduring military mystery until the wreck was found in December following 12 previous expeditions. The new survey, conducted earlier this month with Allen’s research vessel the R/V Petrel, used a remotely-operated vehicle to inspect the sub and collect more than 8,500 high-resolution photos and several hours of video footage. James Hunter of the Australian National Maritime Museum, an archeological observer to the US-Australia expedition, said the fresh imagery should help unravel the mystery of what happened to AE1. “We’re not there yet, we’re still looking through all the footage … it’s going to give us the detail that we need that we didn’t have before,” he told AFP. He said the researchers, who also came from the Royal Australian Navy, Curtin University, the Western Australian Museum and the Submarine Institute of Australia, previously only had low-resolution overhead shots of the wreck. “We’re going to be looking for all sorts of clues. Even the seemingly most innocuous clues may actually help us move forward and have a better understanding of what happened to the submarine,” he added. So far, the images that have been reviewed reveal that the sub’s stern torpedo tube cap was open, although it is not known why, Hunter said. AE1, found in more than 300 metres of water, was the first Allied submarine loss in World War I. The sub had joined naval forces assigned to the capture of the German Pacific colonies in 1914. On Sep 14 she vanished after a rendezvous off Herbertshohe – present day Kokopo – near the Duke of York Islands with the destroyer HMAS Parramatta. Retired Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral Peter Briggs said in December the most likely cause of the loss remains a diving accident. Allen’s Petrel was involved in the recent discovery of the wreckage of WWII aircraft carrier USS Lexington off the east coast of Australia.

Source: Underwater survey reveals secrets of Australia WWI wreck off PNG

Papua New Guinea skull ‘world’s oldest tsunami victim’

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via AFP-New Straits Times, 26 October 2017:

A 6,000-year-old skull found in Papua New Guinea is likely the world’s oldest-known tsunami victim, experts said Thursday after a new analysis of the area it was found in.

The partially preserved Aitape Skull was discovered in 1929 by Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld, 12 kilometres (seven miles) inland from the northern coast of the Pacific nation.

It was long thought to belong to Homo erectus (upright man), an extinct species thought to be an ancestor of the modern human that died out some 140,000 years ago.

But more recent radiocarbon dating estimated it was closer to 6,000 years old, making it a member of our own species – Homo sapiens. At that time, sea levels were higher and the area would have been near the coast.

An international team led by the University of New South Wales returned to the site to collect the same geological deposits observed by Hossfeld.

Source: Papua New Guinea skull ‘world’s oldest tsunami victim’ | New Straits Times | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News

Two missing World War II B-25 bombers documented by Project Recover off Papua New Guinea

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University of California, San Diego, 23 May 2017: Underwater archaeology of a more recent time. Project Recover aims to locate the resting places of Americans missing in action in World War II. Their most recent discovery are two B-25 bombers off Papua New Guinea.

Source: Two missing World War II B-25 bombers documented by Project Recover off Papua New Guinea | EurekAlert! Science News

Humans have been living it 'up' for 50,000 years

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Archaeologists find evidence for settlements in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, giving us indication that humans were living, rather successfully, in cold and relatively inhospitable conditions for the last 50,000 years.

Papua Peak Gives Picture, Puzzle of Ancient Tribes
AFP, via Jakarta Globe, 01 October 2010
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Southeast Asia, c. 100,000 B.P.

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03 October 2007 (News in Science) – Monash University unveils an interactive map called Sahul Time, named after the ancient landmass of Australia and Papua New Guinea, that shows you the lay of the land at different points in time over the last 100,000 years. While the main focus is of course on Australia, what’s really nifty is the inclusion of much of island Southeast Asia, which would provide anyone with an interest about the prehistory of the region to see how much larger the land mass must have been – and possibly how many archaeological sites now remain underwater. Links in this post will lead to the News in Science article, while a separate link to Sahul Time will be added to the resources page.

Mouse click reveals ancient coastline
Anna Salleh

The changing shape of Australasia can now be seen in a new interactive digital map that mimics the rise and fall of sea levels over the past 100,000 years.

The map also has pop-up images and text about key archaeological sites and possible routes humans took from Asia to Australia during the last ice age.

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