It was 2011 and Clifford Coulthard, an elder of the indigenous Adnyamathanha people, and Giles Hamm, a consultant archaeologist, were out surveying the Flinders Ranges, a mountainous region in the southern Australian interior. Miles from anywhere, Coulthard searched for a suitable place to answer a call of nature. And what happened next was extraordinary.
Hamm later told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), “A man getting out of the car to go to the toilet led to the discovery of one of the most important sites in Australian pre-history.” He had indeed stumbled across an ancient cave in the craggy rocks. Moreover, what was later excavated there has important implications for the whole story of humans in Australia.
The Flinders Ranges in South Australia are in fact the largest series of mountains in the country, stretching with some interruptions for a total of 265 miles. They include various protected areas and national parks, which are popular with hikers and mountain bikers.