In 1968, the cremated remains of Mungo Lady were unearthed. Using carbon dating, scientists estimated the remains were 40,000 years old, which makes it the oldest known cremation in the world.
In 1974, remains of the Mungo Man were discovered in Lake Mungo, dating back between 40,000-68,000 years. Carbon dating of the skeleton rewrote Australia’s historical timeline, as it was previously believed that the continent had been inhabited for approximately 20,000 years.
Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, found resting just meters apart, were buried more than 42,000 years ago on Lake Mungo’s shores. The planet’s oldest ritual burials, Mungo Lady was cremated, Mungo Man adorned with ochre. They represent the early emergence of human spiritual beliefs and provide a glimpse into the care provided to kin through Australia’s deep history.
Along with 20,000-year-old fossil human footprints, they tell an incredible story of First Australians’ long history, and led to the establishment of Mungo National Park.