How was Mulka’s Cave, an Aboriginal rock art site near Hyden, in south-central Western Australia, used by the people who decorated its walls, when the present entrance was much smaller?
Western Australian Museum
Place of Publication
Perth, Western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences
Analysis of old photographs and survey data shows that nearly one metre of the sediment in Mulkaís Cave, a profusely decorated Aboriginal rock art site in south-western Australia, has disappeared in the last 50 years. This evidence for erosion prompted us to reassess the results of previous research at the site. Our reconstruction of the floor level in 1950 affects light levels within the cave and the visibility of the artwork, causing us to reconsider how the cave was used when the artwork was made and to suggest that the present entrance may not then have been in use. Investigation of the deposits immediately outside the cave suggests, furthermore, that that area may not have been a major focus of camping. Rather, camping occurred near a series of gnammas 500 m north of the cave.