First Footprints

First Footprints

First Footprints

FIRST FOOTPRINTS is the untold story of how Aboriginal people came to Australia over 50,000 years ago and adapted and thrived in this harsh continent. As the first people out of Africa, they made the first open-ocean crossing in history, conducted the world's earliest ritual cremation, invented technologies such as the hafted stone axe and boomerang, etched the earliest depiction of the human face, engraved the world's first maps, made the earliest narrative paintings - all pre-dating the Cro-Magnon of Lascaux.

First Footprints - Ep 1 - Super Nomads: 50,000 To 30,000 Years Ago

Super Nomads: Arrival and Dispersal 50,000 - 30,000 BP 70,000 years ago modern people are confined to Africa. But one tenacious bunch races across Asia and makes the first open-ocean crossing in human history . They encounter Sahul or Greater Australia - a virgin continent full of weird and deadly megafauna, deserts and glaciers. Trade networks soon criss-cross the continent and innovations in art and technology spread rapidly. They engrave the first image of a human face, they make the first maps. Against the odds the first Australians occupy every available niche for our species and thrive. This is the time when creation stories and song lines of Aboriginal cosmology come into being. First Australians today call this The Dreaming. It's the longest period of social and religious continuity anywhere in the world.

First Footprints - Ep 2 - The Great Drought; 30,000 To 15,000 Years Ago

The Great Drought: Last Glacial Maximum 30,000 - 15,000 BP. For thousands of years people live with Australia's strange and ferocious megafauna like the 6 metre giant lizard Megalania and the marsupial lion. These beasts all become extinct as massive climate change hits Australia brought on by the Last Ice Age. Sea levels drop 130m and deserts spread from 60% to 90% of the continent in the biggest drought ever experienced by humans. As conditions worsen, rather than moving, people adapt to the new environments. In many parts they become desert people with new technologies like the grindstone. Over 10,000 years of punishing drought people developed a culture and a Law that enabled them to survive in places we can't live in today.

First Footprints - Ep 3 - The Great Flood: 18,000 To 5,000 Years Ago

The Great Flood: Global Warming floods the continent 18,000 - 5,000 BP 15,000 years ago, melting polar icecaps send 25% of Greater Australia under water. New Guinea and Tasmania are permanently severed. The isolation of Tasmania has profound consequences on diet, language and technology. As regular monsoons come to the north, cultural explosions in art and technology take off. In the Kimberley and Arnhem Land astounding art gives us a detailed insight into life 12,000 years ago. Boomerangs and spear-throwers are invented. As rising seas flood coastal plains, conflict and pitched battles appear in the art. Sydney harbour is formed creating a rich environment where permanent occupation develops.

First Footprints - Ep 4 - The Biggest Estate: 9,000 Years Ago To 1788

The Biggest Estate: Sustainably transforming an entire continent 9,000 years BP - 1788 9,000 years ago agriculture started in different parts of the planet - The Middle East, China and Greater Australia in the Highlands of New Guinea. Agriculture spread to the Torres Strait but not to mainland Australia. Here people carefully manipulated the available natural plants and animals to greatly increase their food resources. In Victoria a huge communal aquaculture system was engineered. Thousands of people lived in stone houses in settled villages. All over Australia fire was used to create habitats that encouraged particular plants and animals. They transformed the continent into the biggest estate on earth, fully sustainable into the future until outsiders arrive. First there were the maccassan traders from Indonesia, then the Dutch and the English who came to stay in 1788.

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