Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ancient Engravings Found In Somerset Cave

Date:
February 13, 2005
Source:
University Of Bristol
Summary:
Two members of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society have discovered an engraving in a cave in the Mendip Hills, Somerset, which may be at least 10,000 years old. Graham Mullan and Linda Wilson, who have spent much of the last ten years studying Palaeolithic cave art, recently began a systematic search of caves in southern Britain in the belief that such works in this country would not simply be confined to those found at Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire.

Two members of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society have discovered an engraving in a cave in the Mendip Hills, Somerset, which may be at least 10,000 years old.

Graham Mullan and Linda Wilson, who have spent much of the last ten years studying Palaeolithic cave art, recently began a systematic search of caves in southern Britain in the belief that such works in this country would not simply be confined to those found at Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire.

The first results of this study are a series of inscribed crosses found on the wall of Aveline’s Hole in Burrington Combe, Somerset. Aveline’s Hole is famous as being the site of the earliest known cemetery in the British Isles. Recent work by Dr Rick Schulting and English Heritage shows that it was intensively used for burials shortly after the end of the last Ice Age, during the early Mesolithic period, and is this country’s oldest known cemetery.

Abstract designs such as this are commonly found in Mesolithic settings. Some do, however, date back to the Upper Palaeolithic cultures of the last Ice Age and although Upper Palaeolithic peoples also used this cave, the discoverers, assisted by Bristol University rock art specialist, Dr George Nash, and experts from the British Museum, believe that this engraving is more likely to be post Ice Age in date.

Jill Cook, Deputy Keeper in the Department of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum, said: “This is an exciting and important discovery. The few lines that form this panel are a signature from the period right at the end of the last Ice Age when the present period of warm climate was beginning.

“The pattern is comparable with others known from Northern France, Germany and Denmark giving a wider context for the finds of this time and a rare glimpse of what may have been a rather special means of communication.”

Graham Mullan and Linda Wilson are continuing their search and believe more works of this type may well come to light in the other caves in the area used by Early Man. A further engraving has been noted in one of the caves in the Cheddar Gorge, and further investigations are being carried out to verify this.

However, for the vast majority of engravings, it is impossible to obtain any direct dating evidence, leaving stylistic comparisons and archaeological context the only means of reaching a conclusion on the possible age of any such markings.

A gate has been installed in the cave to protect the engraving, after consultations between English Heritage and other interested parties, including the landowner and English Nature.

A full account of the discovery has been published in the Proceedings of The University of Bristol Spelaeological Society, volume 23 (2). This is available via the Sales Manager, email sales@ubss.org.uk. The Society was founded in 1919 in order to bring a scientific approach to the study of caves and their contents and one of its first projects was the excavation of Aveline’s Hole, which continued throughout the 1920s.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Bristol. "Ancient Engravings Found In Somerset Cave." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211093351.htm>.
University Of Bristol. (2005, February 13). Ancient Engravings Found In Somerset Cave. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211093351.htm
University Of Bristol. "Ancient Engravings Found In Somerset Cave." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050211093351.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) — A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) — Parisians and local historians are fighting to save one of the French capital's iconic buildings, the La Samaritaine department store. Duration: 01:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins