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Cloggs Cave
Location Snowy River gorge, near Buchan, Victoria
Region Australia
Site notes
Excavation dates 1970s
Archaeologists Josephine Flood

Cloggs Cave is a limestone cave and rockshelter with significant Aboriginal archaeological deposits, located on a cliff along the Snowy River gorge near the town of Buchan, Victoria.

The cave was within the country of the Krowathunkooloong clan of the Gunaikurnai nation. The roof of the rock shelter outside the cave is heavily blackened, evidently from campfires. A passage leads to an inner chamber with a high cathedral-like roof.

The cave was discovered by Josephine Flood, when driving to another site in eastern Victoria. Her subsequent excavations within the dry floor of the rock shelter revealed extensive evidence of stone tool making from the Australian Small Tool Tradition, with the basal layer dated to the last 1,000 years. Further inside the cave dates from the excavation showed the site was probably first occupied around 17,000 years ago, but appears to have been abandoned by 1,000 years when the outer area was occupied. Based on the relatively small quantities of discarded stone tools, the site has been interpreted as an intermittently occupied hunting site rather than a permanent campsite, with deeply stratified layers containing both stone and bone tools along with ochre and a rich faunal assemblage. The artefact assemblage is from what is described as the Australian Core Tool and Scraper Tradition. Cloggs Cave was the first Pleistocene occupation site to be found with intact bone. Evidence of bones from megafauna and extinct marsupials was found to be dated between 27,500 and 24,500 years old, but were not associated with the human occupation layers.

The cave was also important in demonstrating the antiquity of Aboriginal occupation in south-east Australia and for its almost continuous sequence of occupation layers, extending into the post European settlement period in the 1830s and 1860s.

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