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Dating Middle-earth
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health - Papers
  • Christian Turney, University of Wollongong
  • Richard G Roberts, University of Wollongong
  • Kira E Westaway
Publication Date
Publication Details

Turney, C., Roberts, R. G. & Westaway, K. E. (2005). Dating Middle-earth. Nature Australia, 28 (6), 70-71.

The article presents information on determining the features of a new species of primitive human discovered called hobbits. The ancient anatomical features of the skeleton shared many similarities with 1.8-million-year-old human remains found at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. So researchers anticipated it to be at least hundreds of thousands of years old. But because the skeletal remains were the only known examples of an entirely new species, we could not afford to destroy any of it by using direct dating methods that consumed any bones or teeth. Parts of the skeleton were still articulated, indicating "Hobbit" had died very close to where she was discovered. For this reason we decided to date the associated organic and inorganic materials to provide an age for the skeleton. The youngest known remains of Homo floresiensis, recovered the following field season from immediately below a volcanic ash layer, were radiocarbon-dated to just over 13,000 years. This ash is presently being chemically analyzed to identify the source of the volcanic eruption, which appears to have sealed the fate of this species and spelt the end of Middle-Earth.
Link to publisher version (URL)
Australian Museum
Citation Information
Christian Turney, Richard G Roberts and Kira E Westaway. "Dating Middle-earth" (2005)
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