A RARE bone artefact discovered near Murray Bridge on Ngarrindjeri country is thought to be up to 5,300 years old.
The artefact was recovered from a midden and burial site at Murrawong and was situated in a layer dating to c 5303-3875.
The discovery, which has been dubbed the Murrawong bone point is an implement likely to have been used for piercing soft materials or possibly as a projectile point and was described in a new paper in Australian Archaeology.
Research leaders Dr Christopher Wilson and Professor Amy Roberts from Flinders University Archaeology said the point was probably made from a kangaroo or wallaby bone.
The last similar one was uncovered in the Lower Murray River Gorge was in the 1970s.
Dr Wilson - a Ngarrindjeri man who is leading a project investigating the rich archaeological record on Ngarrindjeri country - said the find was significant.
"Even one find of this kind provides us with opportunities to understand the use of bone technologies in the region and how such artefacts were adapted to a riverine environment," Dr Wilson said.
"Bone artefacts have lacked the same amount of study in comparison to artefacts made of stone, so every discovery reminds us of the diverse material culture used by Aboriginal peoples in this country," Professor Roberts added.
The artefact was found during recent excavation work in a project undertaken in collaboration with the Ngarrindjeri community.