Ancient Monuments

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Bracelet Cave

A Scheduled Monument in St Cuthbert Out, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2322 / 51°13'56"N

Longitude: -2.6848 / 2°41'5"W

OS Eastings: 352282.614664

OS Northings: 148340.310897

OS Grid: ST522483

Mapcode National: GBR ML.2RLY

Mapcode Global: VH89R.F906

Entry Name: Bracelet Cave

Scheduled Date: 27 September 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012062

English Heritage Legacy ID: 13267

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: St Cuthbert Out

Built-Up Area: Wookey Hole

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


Bracelet Cave is situated in Hope Wood at the southern end of Ebbor Gorge, 42m
above the valley floor and 12m below the plateau. It comprises a large
entrance passage, c.4m high and 3m wide, with two higher level entrances at
the back. The cave was extensively excavated by E.J. Mason for Wookey Hole
Caves between 1955 and 1962 and the sides of his trench, which cuts through
the talus, can still be identified. Amongst the finds unearthed were the
remains of nine human skeletons of late Prehistoric type (probably Bronze Age)
in a layer four feet thick which overlay thermoclastic scree deposits. At the
entrance was a Bronze Age bracelet. In addition to these and Roman finds were
chert artefacts of Upper Palaeolithic type, believed to come from within or
beneath the scree. Although much of the cave interior has been excavated, a
considerable depth of deposit survives in the talus on either side of the main
access trench. There are also important deposit remnants adhering to the
walls of the cave. The monument includes the cave and its deposits to a
distance of 25m within the cave and outside the entrance in an arc of radius

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. Bracelet Cave is
regarded as important due to the survival of substantial areas of
archaeological deposit outside the entrance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barrington, N, Stanton, W I, Mendip: The Complete Caves and a View of the Hills, (1977)
Campbell, J B, The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain, (1977)
Jackson, J W, 'British Caving: an introduction to speleology' in Archaeology and Palaeontology, (1962), 252-246
Mason, E J, 'Proc. Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society' in Excavation Of A Rock Shelter, Bracelet Cave...Ebbor..., , Vol. 116, (1972), 111-12

Source: Historic England

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