Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Ossum's Cave

A Scheduled Monument in Wetton, Staffordshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 53.0989 / 53°5'56"N

Longitude: -1.8583 / 1°51'29"W

OS Eastings: 409587.328773

OS Northings: 355753.009059

OS Grid: SK095557

Mapcode National: GBR 367.R0S

Mapcode Global: WHCDQ.FCBN

Entry Name: Ossum's Cave

Scheduled Date: 18 April 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011919

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13218

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Wetton

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Grindon All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


Ossum's Cave, situated on the west side of the Manifold Valley, consists
of a narrow phreatic passage which slopes steeply downwards and is
flooded 5m beyond the entrance. It has a small exterior platform with
banked deposits on either side and a steep talus in front of the cave
suggesting a major continuation of the cave deposits. A limestone block
on the right of the entrance perhaps indicates a former extension of the
cave mouth. Between this block and the cave wall is the remains of a
side-passage sloping up towards the concavity known as Ossum's Eyrie.
Most of the deposits within the cave were removed during excavations
carried out by the Orpheus Caving Club and D. Bramwell (1954-6), but
there are still major deposits outside the cave which have been partly
sampled by a 6.4m long trench through the platform talus. Amongst the
finds recovered in the excavations were Upper Palaeolithic flint
artefacts in apparent association with charcoal and the bones of
reindeer. Although the bones showed no obvious traces of burning or
cutmarks, they occurred in the same layer (Layer C) as the flint
artefacts and have been radiocarbon dated to about 10,500 BP (Before
Present). There is probably little material left inside the cave,
unless deposits survive in the deeper flooded areas. However, the talus
and areas of excavation spoil outside the entrance are thought to be
undisturbed and offer considerable potential.
The monument includes all the deposits within the cave, and outside the
cave includes an area of 10.5m radius from the cave entrance.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Palaeolithic caves and rockshelters 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 rockshelters 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 Staffordshire form a small but significant
regional group of which the monument at Ossum's Cave is an important
example owing to the good survival of the talus deposits and the
preservation of rare faunal remains.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bramwell, D, Third Report On Excavations At Ossom's Cave, (1956)
Bramwell, D, Second Report On The Excavation At Ossom's Cave, (1955)
Bramwell, D, Report On Work At Ossom's Cave For 1954, (1954)
Scott, K, 'Studies in the Upper Palaeolithic of Britain and NW Europe' in Man in Britain in the Late Devensian; evidence from Ossom's Cave, (1986)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.