Ancient Monuments

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Brownes' Hole

A Scheduled Monument in Stoke St Michael, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2263 / 51°13'34"N

Longitude: -2.475 / 2°28'29"W

OS Eastings: 366927.652526

OS Northings: 147557.799585

OS Grid: ST669475

Mapcode National: GBR MW.34R2

Mapcode Global: VH89W.1FXT

Entry Name: Brownes' Hole

Scheduled Date: 4 September 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010709

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13263

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Stoke St Michael

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


Brownes' Hole lies in Cook's Wood, c.50m west of Bector Lane and 5m above the
immediate valley floor. There are two entrances to this cave, several metres
apart, with passages leading back that interconnect and extend into a number
of small galleries, known collectively as the `Entrance Series'. A low-level
partly flooded passage is the start of the `Upstream Series', a system of
tubes leading east and considered unlikely to contain archaeological deposits.
Excavations of the `Entrance Series' by Messrs. Browne of Frome in 1946-7
were extensive and amongst the reported finds were a human skeleton and faunal
remains, including hyaena. Archaeological deposits survive in situ outside
both entrances. They occur beneath archaeological tip at the western entrance
and on either side of the access trench which cuts through the talus of the
south-western entrance. The monument, therefore, includes the cave and the
remaining deposits of the `Entrance Series' as well as an arc of 15m around
both entrances. A modern water tank outside the western entrance is excluded
from the scheduling.

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 21 sites in Somerset form the densest and one of the most important
concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. Although largely
excavated in the interior, the deposits outside the cave entrances of Brownes'
Hole retain considerable potential for the survival of environmental and human
evidence dating to the last glaciation.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barrington, N, Stanton, W I, Mendip: The Complete Caves and a View of the Hills, (1977)
Barton, R N E and Collcutt, S N, Brownes' Hole - extended AM107, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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