Scheduled Monument: FOX HOLE CAVE (1011922)

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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 284
Date assigned Thursday, April 18, 1991
Date last amended


REASOND FOR DESIGNATION 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 Derbyshire form an important regional grouping of which Fox Hole Cave is a significant example owing to the well- preserved organic artefacts and the survival of in situ deposits. It is also one of the few northern sites where human activity can be directly dated to the Late Glacial interstadial. DETAILS Fox Hole Cave is situated on the steep north slope of High Wheeldon Hill, less than 30m below the summit and approximately 100m above the current valley floor. The cave consists of a passage opening out into several chambers (Entrance, First and Main), and a second deeper series including the Bear Chamber. The entrance passage and upper chamber are the main areas of archaeological interest. A number of partial excavations, carried out between 1928 and the early 1980s, have produced Mesolithic, Neolithic, Beaker, Bronze Age and Roman material, but it is the cave's Palaeolithic context that makes it of particular interest. Later Upper Palaeolithic artefacts of flint and antler have been found in association with charcoal, denoting a hearth, and bones of horse and red deer, split and therefore indicative of human activity. Two recent radiocarbon dates of c.12000BP (Before Present) have been obtained from antler spearpoints from the cave. The monument includes all the deposits within the cave, and includes the flat area outside the cave entrance. SELECTED SOURCES Book Reference - Author: Campbell, J.B. - Title: Upper Palaeolithic Britain, a study of man & nature in L. Ice Age - Date: 1977 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: (2 volumes) Book Reference - Author: Ford, T.D., and Gill, D.W. - Title: Caves of Derbyshire - Date: 1984 - Type: DESC TEXT Article Reference - Author: Bramwell, D. - Title: Excavations at Foxhole Cave, High Wheeldon, 1961-70 - Date: 1971 - Volume: 91 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Pagination 1-19

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1991. Scheduling notification: Fox Hole Cave. List entry no. 1011922. SM Cat. No. 284.



Grid reference Centred SK 0997 6617 (25m by 27m)
Map sheet SK06NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Aug 14 2013 4:22PM

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