Archaeologists find underwater island previously home to hundreds of thousands of people

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
January 5, 2024

Scientists found the lost colony underwater

Scientists found the lost colony underwater© Stock image of an underwater city. 3 Hundreds of thousands of people once lived on the northwest she

Scientists have discovered a huge forgotten colony that was once home to hundreds of thousands of people.

They even found artifacts and signs of human life at the site off the coast of Australia, located near the northern region of Kimberley on a landmass that connects to New Guinea.


A study in Quaternary Science Reviews describes how the now underwater piece of land would have likely been a thriving ecosystem during the Late Pleistocene period, dating back as far as 2.5 million years ago.

Its landmass was nearly 250,000 square miles, the equivalent to 1.6 times the size of the United Kingdom.

The study adds that the land could have been a desert, but was once filled with fresh and saltwater lakes, as well as rivers and an inland sea.

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 The discovery was made off the coast of Kimberley

The discovery was made off the coast of Kimberley© wallix

The experts believe that this could have supported between 50,000 and 500,000 people.

People may have also used the land as a bridge to walk to Australia before it became the island that it is today.

It is believed that half of the shelf drowned around 12,000 years ago when sea levels rose.

The study said: “This likely caused a retreat of human populations, registering as peaks in occupational intensity at archaeological sites.”

It added that those who funneled into an archipelago on the shelf would go on to become the “first maritime explorers from Wallacea, creating a familiar environment for their maritime economies to adapt to the vast terrestrial continent of Sahul.”

 The colony drowned 12,000 years ago

The colony drowned 12,000 years ago© Credit: US Geological Survey / Geoscience Australia

Researchers are still looking into the history of the lost colony and will reconstruct the palaeoecology of the landscapes.

The study continued: “Now submerged continental margins clearly played an important role in early human expansions across the world,” the study states.

“The rise in undersea archaeology in Australia will contribute to a growing worldwide picture of early human migration and the impact of climate change on Late Pleistocene human populations.”