Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Kinsey Cave, Giggleswick Scar

A Scheduled Monument in Giggleswick, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0867 / 54°5'11"N

Longitude: -2.3015 / 2°18'5"W

OS Eastings: 380375.205533

OS Northings: 465679.72579

OS Grid: SD803656

Mapcode National: GBR DPC5.JS

Mapcode Global: WH95D.MJ8Y

Entry Name: Kinsey Cave, Giggleswick Scar

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1949

Last Amended: 19 August 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010295

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13248

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Giggleswick

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Giggleswick St Alkelda

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


Kinsey Cave is situated on High Scar above Giggleswick Scar, north-west of
Settle. It lies approximately 130m above Huntworth Beck and 10m below the
plateau. The cave consists of a single chamber, c.35m long and c.12m wide.
The roof of the cave is c.2m high at the entrance but becomes progressively
lower further into the cave. A very large talus containing intact
archaeological deposits partially blocks the entrance and a considerable
amount of undisturbed material survives inside the cave, sealed beneath a
stalagmitic floor. Partial excavations carried out between 1925 and 1932 by
Jackson and Mattinson revealed not only Bronze Age and Roman remains but
also stratified material of Later Upper Palaeolithic type. The finds comprise
tools and waste flakes of flint and chert, an antler point and fragmentary
human remains. Faunal remains of large and small mammals occur throughout the
cave deposits, enabling potential reconstruction of climatic changes from the
Late Glacial onwards. The scheduling includes the cave and the deposits as
far back as 35m and the deposits of the talus which extend to a distance of
100m beyond the cave entrance.

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 Kinsey Cave is an important example due not only to the
presence of rare organic and human material but also the survival of very
substantial archaeological deposits both inside and outside the cave.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Campbell, J B, The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain, (1977)
Jackson, J W, Mattinson, W K, 'The Naturalist' in A Cave On Giggleswick Scar, Near Settle, Yorkshire, (1932)
Archive material, T.C. Lord, Simpson, E., Kinsey Cave, showing exploration by W.K. Mattinston Esq., (1932)

Source: Historic England

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