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


Delannoy, JJ and David, B and Freslov, J and Mullett, R and Green, H and Berthet, J and Petchey, F and Arnold, LJ and Wood, R and McDowell, M and Crouch, J and Mialanes, J and Ash, J and Wong, VNL, and the GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, Geomorphological context and formation history of Cloggs Cave: What was the cave like when people inhabited it?, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 33 Article 102461. ISSN 2352-409X (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102461


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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:archaeomorphology, Australian Alps, Australian Southern Uplands, Cloggs Cave, East Gippsland, Australia, Gunaikurnai, Holocene, Late Pleistocene, megafauna, speleothems, palaeoecology
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Geomorphology and earth surface processes
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:McDowell, M (Dr Matthew McDowell)
ID Code:144616
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-05-31
Last Modified:2021-11-24
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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