Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Outlook Cave

A Scheduled Monument in St Cuthbert Out, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.235 / 51°14'5"N

Longitude: -2.6822 / 2°40'56"W

OS Eastings: 352463.924456

OS Northings: 148643.992335

OS Grid: ST524486

Mapcode National: GBR MM.2D82

Mapcode Global: VH89R.G7C3

Entry Name: Outlook Cave

Scheduled Date: 27 September 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010711

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13266

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: St Cuthbert Out

Built-Up Area: Wookey Hole

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


Outlook Cave is situated high on the right bank of Ebbor Gorge, 58m above the
current valley bottom and 50m below the plateau. It consists of an
artificially widened entrance, c.1m wide and 1.5m high, leading to a small
chamber extending c.12m and with a passage off to the east. A Mendip Nature
Research Committee excavation in 1907 uncovered human and animal remains of
Neolithic and later date, while, beneath a stalagmite floor, were reported
human remains and reindeer bones. Although much of the cave has been
excavated, archaeological deposits are believed to survive inside the eastern
passage and on the north-west wall of the small chamber, sealed beneath a
remnant of stalagmite floor. The monument, therefore, includes the cave and
all of its remaining deposits.

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 this type of monument in the country. The importance of
Outlook Cave lies in the occurrence of rare human remains associated with a
Late Glacial fauna from a sealed context, areas of which still survive within
the cave.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Balch, H E, Mendip - the Great Cave of Wookey Hole, (1914)
Balch, H E, Wookey Hole, its Caves and Cave Dwellers, (1914)
Barrington, N, Stanton, W I, Mendip: The Complete Caves and a View of the Hills, (1977)
With RNEB and SNC, Jacobi, R M, With RNEB and SNC, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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