The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological
Historic Environment Record
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LONGHOLE CAVEPrimary Reference Number (PRN) : 00156w
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Site Type : Cave
Period : Unknown
Community : Port Eynon
NGR : SS45128506
Legal Protection : scheduled ancient monument
A SSE facing cave in the uppermost crag above the sea cliffs. The entrance is 2m high, 4m wide with an open passage varying from 1.6 to 2.3m high, 2m wide and 20m long. First excavated in 1861, and again in 1969. The latter confirming a Aurignacian date.
Cave 39 of the mainland caves recorded by Davies (see bibliography).
A SSE facing cave in the uppermost crag above the sea cliffs. The entrance is 2m high, 4m wide with an open passage varying from 1.6 to 2.3m high, 2m wide and 20m long. The cave ends in a tight crevice, too small for access.
The cave was first excavated by Col.Wood in 1861, excavating an internal deposit up to 2m thick, and again in 1969 by Campbell who opened a trench 2m by 7m on the entrance platform. Wood recovered both warm and cold Pleistocene fauna and flint and chert implements, later deposited at RISW, the British Museum (Natural History) and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. The implements were associated with the Pleistocene fauna and considered to probably belong to the middle and upper Aurignacian industry (Upper Palaeolithic), although as pointed out by the RCAHM and Wheeler the evidence was not decisive. Wood's excavation was recorded by Falconer who described only one layer, and as warm and cold fauna were found together, as Allen and Rutter point out, this indicates either the cave earth was disturbed or Wood did not recognise any stratigraphy.
Campbell recorded 4 distinct layers with separate faunal assemblages. The palaeontological material included an abundance of hyena, woolly rhinoceros and water vole, but also included cave bear, cave lion, narrow nosed rhinoceros, straight tusked elephant, pole cat, wolf, fox, otter, badger, wild cat, pine marten, boar, hare and different species of deer. The stratigraphic and environmental evidence from Campbells excavation confirmed the Aurignacian theory. In a thick clay layer the fauna and pollen was dated to the early Upper Palaeolithic, the only other sites on Gower dated to this period being Nottle Tor and Paviland caves. A few additional bone and stone artefacts also suggested a preceding Middle Palaeolithic date, though apparently the only implements suggesting this date are a possible limestone flake and a bone tool.
The cave still has stalagmite on the roof, the floor is disturbed and uneven and well trampled by sheep. The remains of Campbells trench can still be seen on the entrance platform and the disturbed earth within the cave is evidence of Woods excavation, although sediment still remains. The cave is scheduled and bats have also been seen inside. Nettles still cover the entrance to the cave, no path cuts through them, but they do suggest common sheep occupation, sheep carcasses were noted inside. (16)
Davies, M. , 1993 , The Caves of the South Gower Coast: An Archaeological Assessment
03/PM Desc Text/Garrod D/19 /Upper Pal/pp67-9
05/MM Record Card/OS/1976/SS 48 NE 5
06/PM List/Campbell JB/1977/Upper Pal Britain 2 p101
15/MM Mention/Davies M/1986/Caves of South Gower Coast p16
02/PM Note/Savory HN (ed)/1984/Glamorgan County History volII p16
10/PM Map/GGAT/Parkhouse J/12.2.88/A65,8-10,14
01/PM Desc Text/RCAHMW/Glam Invent volI ptI p17
13/MM Record Card/OS/1982/SS 48 NE 5
08/MH Desc Text/Taylor W/1876/Trans Card Nat Soc/The Gower Caves
11/PM Desc Text/Oldham T/1982/Caves of Gower/pp52&54, illustration
09/PM List/NCC/1979/Stat Sites Nat Parks 1949:West Glam pp19,20,32 maps
07/PM List/BAR/Taylor JA/1980/Prehist of Wales pp18-19
14/MM Desc Text/Cadw/Burnham HB/1989/AM 107
16. P Poucher (2003-04) The National Trust Archaeological Survey: The South Gower Coastal Properties, Mewslade - Port Eynon, Pilton Green, Pilton Cross and Oxwich
E000582 : LONGHOLE CAVE, PARTIAL EXCAVATION, 1861 (year : 1861)
E003821 : The Caves of the South Gower Coast: An Archaeological Assessment (year : 1993)
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