Monument record MDR6515 - Whaley Rock Shelter II, Oxpasture Lane, Elmton

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

Whaley Rock Shelter was excavated by Leslie Armstrong from time to time over a period of more than ten years, but was never published by him. The site is in a small plantation at the head of a slope at 400ft, which dips westwards to a stream. Within a small rock face, Armstrong found a recess ("the Parlour") 13 ft long, 10 ft high and 6 ft wide. The site was stripped section by section, in spits of 6-12 ins, to a depth of 12 ft and up to 15 ft away from the rock face. Material was recorded from a range of phases and included a skull interpreted as being that of a Palaeolithic female (1), although doubt has since been cast on this interpretation. Proposals for its date include Mesolithic or Neolithic (eg Authority 2) or Beaker/Bronze Age, or even more recent (eg Authority 3). Mesolithic material included microliths, burins, scrapers, knives and blades, as well as debris. The Neolithic horizon yielded scrapers, worked flakes, cores, a knife, a leaf arrowhead and an amount of debris. Early pottery included Later Neolithic sherds, including Peterborough wares, a few distinctive Beaker fragments, and at least 220 Romano-British sherds, including Derbyshire ware. Six medieval or later sherds were also recovered. The undisturbed part of the site was excavated between May and November 1966, firstly to produce a section as close to Armstrong's excavation as possible, and secondly to obtain a series of artefacts that would help to elucidate Armstrong's finds. However, no definite Mesolithic flints were recovered and no prehistoric pottery was encountered. A total of 27 flints were recovered, most of which were probably Neolithic. Romano-British material recovered in 1966 included pottery sherds, glass, pot-boilers and domestic rubbish. It was suggested that the earliest use of the site was in the Mesolithic and that this was probably the only real use of the site as a true rock shelter. The Neolithic settlement was probably mainly on the knoll, with only a slight possibility of there being some occupation below the cliff edge. The Romano-British settlement had a long life, probably beginning in the late 1st or early 2nd century. Again, this was probably above the cliff, with refuse finding its way over the cliff. (4)

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Article in serial: Brothwell, D R. 1966. 'An Upper Palaeolithic skull from Whaley Rock Shelter No. 2, Derbyshire', Man. Volume 61, pp 113-116.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Marsden, B. 1977. The Burial Mounds of Derbyshire. p 111.
  • <3> Index: NDAT. 0846. 0846.
  • <4> Article in serial: Radley, J. 1967. 'Excavations at a rock shelter at Whaley', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 87, pp 1-17.



Grid reference SK 5113 7213 (point) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR679
  • EDR231

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Record last edited

Jun 12 2017 4:42PM

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