A 6-foot deep mystery: The 1961 excavation at Cave Cliffs Rockshelter (Warne’s Cave) on the Murray River, South Australia

Craig Westell, Amy Roberts, Ian Moffat, Marc Fairhead, River Murray and Mallee Aboriginal Corporation

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Abstract

This article reviews and analyses documented reports about the Aboriginal site variously reported in the literature as Cave Cliffs Rockshelter and Warne’s Cave located on the Murray River in South Australia. The site is also considered in relation to broader historical and archaeological contexts. Numerous inconsistencies within the documentation are explored including: 1) The traditional Aboriginal narrative/s attributed to the rockshelter; 2) The nomenclature assigned to the rockshelter; 3) The nature of the archaeological investigations at the rockshelter (and personnel involved); and 4) The outcomes of the archaeological research, including the housing of any collected assemblage/s. The results of recent archaeological surveys of the site (including geophysical investigations) are also reported and opportunities for potential future work are outlined. Given the nature and context of the site, we argue that the site should have been afforded significantly more respect and recognition than reflected in the level of documentation and informal nature of excavations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-61
Number of pages41
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of South Australia
Volume148
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Murray River
  • Rockshelter
  • Geophysics
  • Aboriginal
  • Archaeology

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