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Koonalda Cave

Koonalda Cave
Location Nullarbor Plain, South Australia
Discovery 1935

Koonalda Cave is a cave located in Nullarbor Plain within South Australia which is notable as an archeological site.[1][2]

Thousands of square metres in the cave are covered in parallel finger-marked geometric lines and patterns, Indigenous Australian artwork which has been dated as 20,000 years old,[1][3] making it older than any known prehistoric art in Europe.[4] It is located about 97 kilometres (60 mi) north east from Eucla[5] within the Nullarbor Wilderness Protection Area.[6]

The cave was abandoned 19,000 years ago, and rediscovered by archeologists in 1956.[3]

The cave was explored by an expedition led by Captain J. M. Thompson in 1935. The team entered the cave by a ladder and found themselves in a chamber some 244 metres (800 ft) in circumference and walked down tunnels over 366 metres (1,200 ft) in length.[5]

Later excavated by Alexander Gallus in the 1960s, he found that Aboriginal peoples had used the area as a flint mine.[7]

Koonalda Cave was inscribed onto the Australian National Heritage List on 15 October 2014[8]


  1. ^ a b "Koonalda Cave", Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ "Koonalda Cave" Australia Thru Time. Retrieved 2014-3-17.
  3. ^ a b "Koonalda", Minnesota State University
  4. ^ BLAINEY, Geoffrey, Triumph of the Nomads: A History of Aboriginal Australia, 1976, ISBN 0-87951-084-6, p.84
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
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