Database compiled by Andrew T. Chamberlain, University of Manchester

This gazetteer contains a summary of information about natural caves, fissures and rock shelters in South West England that have contained human remains of possible or proven prehistoric date. To find information about a particular site, click on its name in the list below. The following categories of information are listed for each entry:

Site: The topographical name of the site, as given in the published literature. Alternative names are given in parentheses.

NGR: The National Grid Reference, consisting of two letters indicating the 100 km square followed by the six-figure or eight-figure grid co-ordinates, when known. Clicking on this will lead to the site being located on the OS map on

NMR: The National Monument Record Number, as listed in the Pastscape Database.

SMR: The Primary Record Number under which the site is recorded in the relevant local authority sites and monuments or historic environment record.

SAM: Scheduled Ancient Monuments number.

SSSI: Site of Special Scientific Interest number.

MCRA: The database number of the site as listed in the Mendip Cave Registry and Archive with a direct link to the entry.

DCCR: The database number of the site as listed in the Devon and Cornwall Cave Registry with a direct link to the entry.

Excavation: The directors and duration of known excavations of the site.

Curation: The current or last known locations of all curated finds from the site.

Burials: The estimated numbers of individuals, subdivided into adults and juveniles. A '+' sign indicates that the estimate is a minimum number, normally calculated from the most frequently represented skeletal element

Finds: A brief summary of any artefacts or environmental material that may be of the same date as the human remains. The entry does not distinguish between items that are grave goods, those which are associated by context, and material that is unstratified.

Date: The author’s assessment of the period to which the burials are likely to belong. For each site a numerical index of reliability of the dating evidence has been assigned, as follows: (1) 14C date obtained directly on human remains; (2) 14C date obtained on organic material closely associated with a burial, or, undated human remains closely associated with diagnostic prehistoric artefacts or other datable material; (3) burial associated with non-diagnostic prehistoric artefacts; (4) stratigraphical context of human remains indeterminate; (5) no reliable dating information available for the site.

14C: Where radiocarbon determinations are available these are given in uncalibrated years b.p. The laboratory number is also given, but the laboratory dating error has been omitted (most estimates of the error standard deviation of Holocene 14C dates lie in the range between ±30 and ±150 years).

Bibliography: A comprehensive list of the primary published literature for each site is given, but secondary references that present no additional information have been omitted. Where possible, references are linked to freely available online copies.

Errors and omissions

It is hoped that we can actively keep this gazetteer both accurate and up to date. If you know of any data that is missing or out of date, please contact either the compiler, Prof. Andrew Chamberlain or the editor Graham Mullan. For technical problems, broken links etc. please contact the editor..

Alphabetical List of Cave Sites

Return to the main index page.

Updated December 2023

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