It all started here. A 5000 year old pestle dug up in Waim, New Guinea, provided tantalising new evidence that the island had its own Neolithic period.
With the help of Waim villagers, UNSW Sydney's Dr Ben Shaw led a group of scientists on an archaeological dig for more ancient artefacts.
Waim, seen here from the air, is in the northern highlands of New Guinea.
Just feel the serenity... the idyllic spot where the excavation team set up basecamp.
The rugged highlands terrain made it quite a challenge to get around.
Ben's research included recording some of the villagers' oral history. Here they share some stories at a nearby salt spring.
Waim residents helping on the dig are proud to connect with thousands of years of history after digging up a 4200 year old ancient stone axe.
Some curious kids come along for a sticky beak.
Artefacts that Ben and the team recovered included axes, adzes, pestles and artworks.
Here the excavation team uncovers what at first was a very puzzling piece.
It was only after talking with the village elders that Ben and his team realised it was a template for making axes.
Neolithic ages are associated with the rise of agriculture as people began to stay in one spot more to tend crops. This meant more time to make tools and art - the drivers of technological and cultural change. Pictures: Ben Shaw, Judith Field
An archaeological dig in New Guinea by UNSW scientists has unearthed artefacts to provide strong evidence that a Neolithic period existed there 5000 years ago.