A huge bush fire in Australia has uncovered the remains of ancient huts built by Aborigines, undermining their image as nomads who shunned settlements.
The stone houses, revealed after flames swept through part of western Victoria, are believed to be around 8,000 years old.
Archaeologists believe that the dwellings, near Lake Condah, 220 miles west of Melbourne, would have been about 6ft high and roofed with reeds or grass.
It has long been thought that Australia’s first inhabitants were hunter gatherers who roamed the land according to the seasons, carrying only what they needed to survive.
That assumption led Britain to declare Australia terra nullius, a land belonging to no one, a legal principle on which the occupation of the continent was based.
Archeologists have found evidence in the past of an ingenious system of dams, channels, ponds and weirs designed to catch fish and eels. But the most recent discoveries suggest a more sophisticated society than previously thought.