Excavations at Victoria Cave have produced a collection of over 3,000 artefacts. From long-extinct animals to Ice Age hunting weapons, these are some of the highlights.
Caves have always fascinated people, and tales of the wonders found inside them have inspired many a myth over the millennia. But beyond their mystical significance, caves are treasure troves for anyone wanting to understand prehistoric life.
Ice Age megafauna
If there’s one thing Victoria Cave has, it is plenty of bones; the most spectacular of which date back to the Last Interglacial – a warm period sandwiched between two Ice Ages from 130,000 to 125,000 years ago.
During this time, spotted hyena were using Victoria Cave as a den. Pollen recovered from their coprolites shows the area was open grassland with small areas of deciduous forest, but the hyenas also built up a deep layer of bone from the animals they hunted and scavenged. Among them are the remains of enormous Ice Age mega-fauna, including giant deer, bison, hippopotamus and now-extinct species of narrow-nosed rhino and straight-tusked elephant, as well as other top predators like lions.