ARCHAEOLOGISTS are on the cusp of unravelling the mystery behind a set of “hugely significant” ancient Aboriginal remains discovered in the region last year.
Former local man Robert Harris Jnr found the remains near an old water course late last February while working on a property outside Lake Cargelligo.
The remains – confirmed to be tens of thousands of years old –have been hailed as the greatest discovery in more than half a century.
“They’re more significant than first thought,” local Aboriginal site recorder and brother of Robert, Max Harris said.
“They are as old, or even older than Mungo man – he could be the oldest modern human ever discovered.
“He’s also supposed to be the ancestor of many central and western NSW Aborigines.”
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage archaeologist Phil Purcell said he hoped to have determined exactly how old the remains were by the end of the month.
“It’s not likely to be older than Mungo man, but it’s certainly going to be old,” he said.
“There wasn’t enough carbon left in the bone samples to be able to test, which is disappointing, but that also indicates that these remains are quite old.”
Mr Purcell said they were currently carrying out tests on the sand in which the remains were buried, but there were some discrepancies in the results.
“We’ve used OSL (testing) to date individual grains of sand in the burial put and we’re getting some pretty old dates back,” he said.
“We’re also doing uranium series dating on the bone and that shows they are significantly older again – there’s a difference of about eight to 10,000 years.
“We will make an official announcement when we have it sorted. It’s important to make the announcement when we know what we’re dealing with.”
Mr Harris said the remains had revealed the man was seven feet tall and had approximately size 15 feet and it had been a ritual burial.
The remains are due to be reburied in a special ceremony this Wednesday in the presence of Aboriginal elders and government representatives.