Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cat Hole Cave

A Scheduled Monument in Ilston (Llanddinol), Swansea (Abertawe)

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Latitude: 51.59 / 51°35'23"N

Longitude: -4.1124 / 4°6'44"W

OS Eastings: 253761

OS Northings: 190014

OS Grid: SS537900

Mapcode National: GBR GT.ZPBN

Mapcode Global: VH4KD.N9TH

Entry Name: Cat Hole Cave

Scheduled Date:

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1010

Cadw Legacy ID: GM349

Schedule Class: Monument

Category: Cave

Period: Prehistoric

County: Swansea (Abertawe)

Community: Ilston (Llanddinol)

Traditional County: Glamorgan


The monument consists of a cave containing archaeological deposits that can date from as early as the Palaeolithic period. A cave may have been used for occupation, storage, burial, refuse, or as a temporary shelter. Cat Hole Cave is located at Parc Cwm near Park Mill, approximately 2km from the present coastline. The cave mouth is located in a west facing cliff and is approximately 15m above the valley floor. The outer chamber expands to a width of approximately 12m, and a smaller chamber extends to a total depth of approximately 18m from the cave mouth, with a blind passage measuring 7m leading from it to the northwest. Excavations undertaken in 1864, 1960 and 1968 produced an important assemblage of upper Palaeolithic material associated with fauna including reindeer, mammoth, horse, red deer and woolly rhinoceros. In 2011, the earliest cave art to be identified in Wales was discovered. The art was in the form of a geometric pattern, which has been interpreted as a possible deer. A preliminary dating exercise has suggested a date of 12,600 BP, which places the creation of the art in the Late Upper Palaeolithic. Mesolithic finds have also been found, as was an axe and pottery dating from the Bronze Age.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric settlement, ritual and funerary practices. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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