Rare glass spearhead found on Rottnest Island

June 7, 2017 by Jess Reid, University of Western Australia
Rare glass spearhead found on Rottnest Island
Credit: University of Western Australia

Staff and students from The University of Western Australia's School of Indigenous Studies have made an exciting discovery during a University excursion on Rottnest Island (Wadjemup).

Professor Len Collard from The University of Western Australia said the and students were at a site on Rottnest learning about the Indigenous history of the island when one of the students uncovered a sparkling object.

"Imagine our excitement when we realised it was a rare spearhead that is at least 100 years old. It's not every day that you uncover an artefact of this significance," Professor Collard said.

"The student was surprised and delighted with the which marks an exciting moment in history."

Professor Collard said UWA staff and students had uncovered a few spearheads on the island in recent years.

"We have unearthed clear glass and ceramic spearheads before, but never a spectacular emerald green glass spearhead like this one," he said.

Professor Collard said the spearheads were believed to have been used for trade and exchange, building relationships and hunting of quokkas by Indigenous male prisoners who inhabited the island more than a century ago.

"We believe the prisoners would find a place on top of a hill overlooking the mainland where they would make spear tips from scrap pieces of glass," he said.

"This discovery is important because it helps us learn about our heritage and remember our past, which is important for today and future generations."

The spearhead was re-buried at Rottnest Island to respect the Aboriginal tradition of keeping artefacts found in their resting place.

Explore further: Rare spearheads uncovered on Rottnest Island

Related Stories

Rare spearheads uncovered on Rottnest Island

October 15, 2015

Staff and students from The University of Western Australia's School of Indigenous Studies have made a surprise discovery on an excursion to Rottnest Island (Wadjemup), uncovering a rare nineteenth century glass spearhead.

Mapping the future of Rottnest's furry friends

April 9, 2015

We all know Rottnest Island's iconic quokkas (Setonix brachyurus) love eating treats from tourists and poking around inside public buildings but local researchers have identified plant species on the island that the quokkas ...

Radar search to find lost Aboriginal burial site

July 22, 2014

Scientists said Tuesday they hope that radar technology will help them find a century-old Aboriginal burial ground on an Australian island, bringing some closure to the local indigenous population.

Recommended for you

Rare fossil bird deepens mystery of avian extinctions

November 13, 2018

During the late Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago, birds belonging to hundreds of different species flitted around the dinosaurs and through the forests as abundantly as they flit about our woods and fields ...

Violent crime rates rise in warmer winters

November 13, 2018

As global temperatures climb, warmer winters in parts of the country may set the scene for higher rates of violent crimes such as assault and robbery, according to a new CIRES study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.