Indigenous Engineering in Australia

These efforts have been around for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years. Wow.

 

In the 1840s, the eel traps of Budj Bim were described as the work of ‘civilized men’. But it took another 135 years for more appreciative European eyes to examine the complexity of western Victorias Aboriginal fishery.

Rather than living passively off whatever nature provided, the Gunditjmara actively and deliberately manipulated local water flows and ecologies to engineer a landscape focused on increasing the availability and reliability of eels.

Manipulation of the landscape involved stone structures (such as traps and channels) dating back at least 6,600 years. Eel aquaculture facilities (ponds and dam walls) pre-date contact with Europeans by many hundreds (and possibly thousands) of years.

As Lourandos pointed out more than three decades ago, and Bruce Pascoe reveals in his recent award-winning book Dark Emu, differences between hunter gatherers and cultivators, and foragers and farmers, are far more complex and blurred than we once thought.

https://theconversation.com/the-detective-work-behind-the-budj-bim-eel-traps-world-heritage-bid-71800

And there’s much, much more to explore and celebrate:

 

 

Courtesy ‘Merki’ this week on Twitter’s ‘IndigenousX‘ rotating account. (Follow!)

Header photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

 

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