Megafauna at Keilor and the timing of their extinction

Jacqui Duncan


The Keilor archaeological area is located approximately 16 km northwest of Melbourne near the confluence of Dry Creek and the Maribymong River. In 1940 a human cranium was discovered in the locality and later the area was excavated by Alexander Gallus and teams from the Victoria Archaeological Survey and La Trobe University (Bosler 1975, Mulvaney 1998). This paper details the results of a faunal analysis conducted on materials recovered from the later excavation (Duncan 1998). Its focus is the lower stratigraphic layers known as the D-Clay and the underlying Older Dry Creek Alluvium (ODCA).

 During the late 1960s and early 1970s Gallus (1971, 1972,  1974,1983) conducted a series of excavations at Keilor which were driven by his quest to find evidence of the earliest technical developments of hominids in Australia. Marshall's (1974) analysis of the faunal remains recovered from those digs showed that extinct megafaunal species were present at Keilor, perhaps as recently as 20,000 years ago. This faunal analysis aims to test the validity of claims made by Marshall by comparing the results of his study with the results of the VASLTU excavation faunal analysis. The results reaffirm Keilor's importance to Australian archaeology, and are relevant to the megafauna extinction debate.

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