Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

New Guinea 2 Cave

This cave is on the west bank of the Snowy River Gorge, north of  Buchan, Victoria. The cave system extends deep underground, but at the entrance is a rock shelter, the floor of which has many large boulders from past rock falls. Excavations found stone artefacts, the occupation of the site being traced back to almost 20,000 BP.

A large chamber with several entrances and a high roof, and with a permanent stream running through it, is reached by a narrow entrance and a steep descent. An Aboriginal fireplace and midden were found on the dry bank beside the stream. Mud had accumulated on the cave walls at earlier time of high floods and it had dried to make a smooth surface on the walls on which the Aboriginal People made marks with fingers or tools.

As with the markings on the walls of the Orchestra Shell Cave, it has been suggested that these marks may have been made by animals, in this case, climbing out of the cave. This interpretation seem unlikely because the marks include what appear to be patterns, such as a large number of diagonally crossing lines and circles, being found on smoother patches of wall. They are very similar to those found at Koonalda Cave. Another similarity with Koonalda Cave is that some of the marks are in dark recesses of the cave that are not now accessible. They may have been connected with ceremonies, and probably date from about 20,000 years ago, the probable beginning of Aboriginal art.

The occupation deposit at the cave entrance has been dated to between 21,900 +900/-800 BP and 4,660 +/- 110 BP. If the rock art in the cave is of the same age as the occupation deposit it may be of similar antiquity to the art in Koonalda Cave. (Ossa et al., 1995).

Sources & Further reading

Josephine Flood, Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J. B. Publishing



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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading