Ancient Monuments

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Victoria Cave, Langcliffe Scar

A Scheduled Monument in Langcliffe, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.081 / 54°4'51"N

Longitude: -2.2487 / 2°14'55"W

OS Eastings: 383824.356749

OS Northings: 465041.651422

OS Grid: SD838650

Mapcode National: GBR DPQ7.YT

Mapcode Global: WHB6K.FPD8

Entry Name: Victoria Cave, Langcliffe Scar

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1949

Last Amended: 19 August 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010290

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13246

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Langcliffe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Langcliffe St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


Victoria Cave lies approximately 30m up the east side of King's Scar, a
lateral valley of the River Ribble near Settle. It is a large solution cave
formed within a more extensive limestone rift system. The cave consists of
three interconnecting chambers with access to the outside via two entrances.
A fissure exists about 10m further north and is considered to be part of the
same cave system. Excavations have taken place both inside and outside the
cave in the 19th and 20th centuries. These have produced a small but diverse
collection of Late Upper Palaeolithic artefacts including flint tools and a
rare example of decorated antlerwork. A harpoon previously identified as
Palaeolithic is now believed to be of Mesolithic age. There is also a very
rich faunal sequence from the cave dating back 100,000 years into the last
Interglacial but, so far, there is no archaeological evidence from this
early period. Archaeological excavations have been responsible for partial
removal of deposits inside the main entrance and the area just outside the
cave mouth. The main entrance measures about 30m wide and 10m high while the
main interior chamber extends for a distance of about 50m. Although the
deposits in these places have been greatly reduced, significant portions
remain for future investigation. These include deposits of the chambers
covered by plastic matting and rocks, sediments within the cave protected by
natural roof fall, the entrance platform outside both entrances and intact
areas on either side of the cave mouth. The scheduling therefore includes the
cave and side fissure and the deposits which extend out onto the platform and
talus outside the entrances in an arc of 30m.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Palaeolithic caves and rock shelters provide some of the earliest evidence of
human activity in the period from about 400,000 to 10,000 years ago. The
sites, all natural topographic features, occur mainly in hard limestone in the
north and west of the country, although examples also exist in the softer
rocks of south-east England. Evidence for human occupation is often located
near the cave entrances, close to the rock walls or on the exterior platforms.
The interiors sometimes served as special areas for disposal and storage or
were places where material naturally accumulated from the outside. Because of
the special conditions of deposition and preservation, organic and other
fragile materials often survive well and in stratigraphic association. Caves
and rock shelters are therefore of major importance for understanding this
period. Due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their
longevity as a monument type, all examples with good survival of deposits are
considered to be nationally important.

The Palaeolithic caves of the Yorkshire Dales belong to a major regional
group of which Victoria Cave is an important example due to the survival of
extensive deposits both inside and outside the cave and, in particular, the
preservation of rare organic artefacts.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Campbell, J B, The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain, (1977)
Gascoyne, M, Currant, A P, Lord, T C, Ipswichian Fauna of Victoria Cave and Marine Palaeoclimatic Record, (1981)
King, A, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Summary Excavation Reports: Victoria Cave, Settle, N. Yorkshire, , Vol. 46, (1980)

Source: Historic England

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