Geomorphological context and formation history of Cloggs Cave: what was the cave like when people inhabited it?

Delannoy, Jean-Jacques, David, Bruno, Fresløv, Joanna, Mullett, Russell, Aboriginal Corporation, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters, Green, Helen, Berthet, Johan, Petchey, Fiona, Arnold, Lee J., Wood, Rachel, Mcdowell, Matthew, Crouch, Joe, Mialanes, Jerome, Ash, Jeremy, and Wong, Vanessa N.L. (2020) Geomorphological context and formation history of Cloggs Cave: what was the cave like when people inhabited it? Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 33. 102461.

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Abstract

New research undertaken at Cloggs Cave, in the foothills of the Australian Alps, employed an integrated geological-geomorphological-archaeological approach with manifold dating methods and fine resolution LiDAR 3D mapping. Long-standing questions about the site’s chronostratigraphy (e.g. the exact relationship between basal megafaunal deposits and archaeological layers), sedimentation processes and geomorphic changes were resolved. The cave's formation history was reconstructed to understand its changing morphology and morphogenic processes, and to clarify how these processes shaped the cave’s deposits. Key findings include the identification of: 1) the geomorphological processes that caused the lateral juxtaposition of 52,000 year-old megafaunal and later occupational layers; 2) the existence of one and possibly two (now-buried) palaeo-entrance(s) that enabled now-extinct megafauna and extant large fauna to enter the cave, most likely via a free-roaming passage rather than a pit drop; 3) morphological changes to the cave during the time of the Old People, including the timing of changes to the inclination of palaeo-surfaces; and 4) modifications to stalactites, crushing of calcite formations for the manufacture of powder, construction of a stone arrangement, and movement of large limestone blocks by the Old People. Ultimately, these findings demonstrate that to properly understand what Cloggs Cave was like when the Old People visited the site requires the construction of a narrative that spans some 400 million years and the development of an approach capable of integrating the many scales and processes (e.g. geological, geomorphological, archaeological) that configured to shape the site.

Item ID: 65249
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2352-4103
Keywords: Archaeomorphology; Australian Alps; Australian Southern Uplands; Cloggs Cave; East Gippsland, Australia; Gunaikurnai; Holocene; Late Pleistocene; Megafauna; Speleothems
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (ACR)
Projects and Grants: ARC CE170100015
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2020 00:04
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander archaeology @ 50%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4301 Archaeology > 430101 Archaeological science @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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