After being taken to the massacre site by the descendants of those that died, they found the evidence they were looking for. Several burned bones fragments belonging to people were identified, including those from a human skull.
No other Aboriginal artifacts were found, which suggests this wasn’t the remains of a home of some sort. Using a technique called X-ray diffraction, the precise temperature and duration of the fire that caused the burns were revealed.
Without a doubt, the fire was extremely hot for several hours, which meant that timber was used as the fuel, and the fire was attended to damage the human remains to such an extent that they couldn’t be identified.
Although the culprits cannot yet be conclusively identified, the massacre almost certainly took place, and someone clearly tried to hide the evidence. The only reason this research was possible was because of the truly remarkable storytelling tradition of the Aboriginal people, who refused to let the issue go 100 years after the incident took place.
Explaining their work in The Conversation, some of the authors of the study note: “We cannot undo the past, but we can acknowledge that these events are part of both Aboriginal and white histories – they are real, and Aboriginal people still suffer the pain of the past.”
The study concludes by saying that this work will help others identify other massacre sites across Australia – something that will hopefully bring affected Aboriginal people some small form of closure.
[H/T: The Conversation]