• Unidentified stone tool from Ltyentye Apurte, Northern Territory. (Carl Bento/Macleay Museum Sydney University)Source: Carl Bento/Macleay Museum Sydney University
What do ancient tools and a mechanic's tool box have in common? An exhibition at the University of Sydney takes an unconventional approach to Indigenous history.
Andrea Booth

22 Jan 2016 - 1:17 PM  UPDATED 22 Jan 2016 - 6:32 PM

A new exhibition Written in Stone, Aboriginal Stone Tool Artefacts at the University of Sydney aims to show a collection of tools used by First Australians for thousands of years in an unconventional way.

"We were rejecting a European classification of these objects," curator Matt Poll told NITV News. 

"We wanted to take the stone tools out of the archaeological classification."

Instead, Mr Poll wants to show the instruments in the context that they could be part of a mechanic's tool box, "rather than presenting these as evidence of an ancient culture."

A public lecture on Friday will introduce the exhibition showing the tools once used in the area we now know as the most urbanised part of the country, Sydney.

"Being the first point of colonisation so much incredible knowledge that was accumulated over around 11,000 years in the greater Sydney region was wilfully disregarded during the dispossession of the people of the Sydney region," Mr Poll said.

Mr Poll hopes that visitors will ultimately learn more about the cultures of Indigenous people.

The everyday life of Aboriginal people was far more complex and intricate than many people have imagined," he said. "Diverse groups of people invented tools and technologies that many modern people with all our technological advancement would find difficult to know where to begin if they were faced with the same situation that Aboriginal people thrived in."

The Written In Stone exhibition runs until June 2016 at the University of Sydney's Macleay Museum.