Another Block in the Wall
We have been, and returned, to many sites that have been ruthlessly vandalised. Too easy to find or well known, the wanton disregard of Original engravings and stone arrangements , some thousands and often tens of thousands years old, is so much a part and parcel of archaeology in Australia. So commonplace is this desecration, our first priority has always been focused around preventing this outrageous disrespect, what it means and who was responsible must always take a back seat.
On occasions we have been deliberately obscure when supplying details in relation to situation and geography, but fortunately this site will never be vandalised. The tunnels and what lays beyond would have never, never been found by us or anyone else, it was only because Klaus Dona sent us a photograph with the specific location marked out, that we were now standing on site. The access is not difficult, that would be a gross understatement. There are extremely steep slopes to negotiate and an entrance that betrays nothing to either the trained or untrained eye, except to advance forward is fraught with real and present danger.
Our first investigation was far briefer than what was needed, but we had two sites to examine on that day and as this one was the unknown part of our day, more time was dedicated to the other site which promised tangible returns. Even getting to this site was a distraction of some magnitude, maintaining balance while descending was a feat of its own. But the final stride to gain entrance was a thought-provoking effort. A four metre drop with no less than two metres to straddle across to the only foothold followed by swinging the other foot up the slope aiming at the dirt floor at the front of the tunnels, was an action deserving of some forward planning. Fortunately those aboard were agile of foot and adventurous of spirit, and all of us managed to negotiate the divide.
With the exception of myself the rest of the party were focused on finding an entrance of some sort. We knew the tunnel led deep inside, but we also saw the impact and damage caused by the mass of rock above which was literally sliding down the hill and into this complex. By our estimation the there were two shafts/tunnels, one I could (being the thinnest) manage to get in nearly ten metres before it narrowed to no more than ten centimeters. I could see that gap continued inwards and appeared uniform and quite long, but no-one in our group could advance any further.
The rest of the team were not deterred and sought out other means of entrance, but I went back to one section of the tunnel which measured close to 5 metres. We were all agreed that the wall was so similar to the ancient walls in Chile and Peru. The joins were so precise, only the thinnest of twigs could be inserted 15 maybe 20 cms inside the widest gap between these shaped rectangular sandstone blocks. There are four horizontal layers of sandstone blocks, each layer laid perfectly flat with a flat sandstone shelf of considerable dimensions and tonnage sitting on this supporting wall. I tried to identify a possible geological process that could create such a complex and intricate alignment and came up empty every time.
In some respects our limited time on site was a blessing as I really had nothing to offer bar try and make sense of what was obviously a wall built to take the weight of the rock shelf, along with the huge accumulation of shaped rocks with sharp edges, flat faces and ninety degree angles. The technology needed cannot be found in any Original tool-kit, or so the experts claim. Either way for now, it was time to walk away and return to measure and analyse another day.
Which I did, it took another four months before the timing and finances allowed a return visit. If anything, getting to the entrance seemed even more dangerous, or I was getting older. Despite the decidedly longer pause heightened by visions of what a poorly placed right foot could lead to, coupled with the apparent ease at which my companion on site, Ryan, casually breached the chasm, I did remain in tact and vertical.
This time there was no intention to find a way in, all we were interested in was that one wall, anything else that may crop up was merely an afterthought. Since our last visit the damage created due to compression from above was even more evident. As before so many of the rocks laying on the floor and positioned, sometimes precariously, above were shaped and cut, but this was no more than more of the same and only reinforced what we already knew to be true.