THE CATTEDOWN BONE CAVES,
The Cattedown Bone Caves Main Homepage is dedicated to the memory of the 19th Century Plymouth cave hunters and cave excavators
Hominin - Skull.
[© Images Torquay Museum]
Further occasional discoveries of rich bone caves within the City were made up until the end of the 20th Century.
One aspect of the present work in hand by the Society is to try to preserve the remnants of those sites and to guarantee their future scientific and environmental integrity. This work includes a constant effort to protect this internationally important site and its diminishing contextual karst environment from being further diminished in size and degraded by inappropriate adjacent development schemes, such as are currently in the City Council's official Planning Process. No other City or Country in the world would tolerate such a state of affairs as we have to constantly deal with here around an internationally important heritage location in Plymouth, England!
The Plymouth City Museum curates the Collections of surviving fossil bones relating to Worth's remarkable discoveries in 1886-87 as well as other donated material from the 19th Century bone cave discoveries. It currently has two professional Keepers and additional Assistant Keepers who share the curatorial duties relating to the Cattedown Fossil Bone heritage. We count ourselves fortunate in that both Keepers are positive and progressive in their attitude towards the curation and conservation of the fossil evidence in their charge. You can visit the Plymouth City Museum's Website by clicking on the Link below. Unfortunately, the structure of their Website seems to have greatly deteriorated in the recent past. There is also very little mention of the Cattedown Bone Caves, so we will try to compensate for this on our Website!
Click.here.for access to a separate Link-page for brief personal biographies of R N Worth and R Burnard and also for brief histories of companies which operated in the Cattedown Quarries.
These Homepages are intended to be both extensive and comprehensive in their coverage of the Cattedown Bone Caves. Their publishing on the World Wide Web presents a timely opportunity to make practical use of some of the archive material held in the Society's Library and Archives Facility. By bringing together the elements of contemporary photographs, moving images, correspondence, published and non-published records and other documentation, it is hoped that the Homepages will enable us to present a comprehensive and thorough record of the fascinating speleo-vertebrate palaeontological work undertaken in the Cattedown Karst area of Plymouth and to highlight the international importance of the area.
fossil remains of ancient man were said to have been discovered in caves
at Oreston, further up the Plym Estuary. Although alluded to in many scientific
papers, these discoveries were never documented, the bones having been
discarded by the finders as being of no relevance and in the context of
the time and as contradicting the Biblical Account of Human origins!
Section 1. introduces in detail various aspects of the Cattedown area and its "development" through time. The Bibliography Section 21. sources material for further reading and research, whilst Section 20. provides a technical Glossary of some of the anatomical, osteological and palaeontological terms used throughout this and all other sections of the Homepages for the Bone Caves of Plymouth and District.
images on this Homepage, together with a great many others, can be viewed
(or are about to be made available) and are described in detail, elsewhere
in the Cattedown Bone Caves Webpages.
Unlike Phase 1. (Stage 1.), we cannot apply a fixed timescale for the completion of Phase 1. (Stage 2.). Indeed, there is no imperative to do so.
Participation by inexperienced individuals will pose no threat to the scientific integrity of the Bone Cave - there are no plans to disturb original, unexcavated cave deposits, but merely to remove the debris that has accumulated on top of his cave during the intervening 122 years since the end of R N Worth's Excavation in 1887. Hence we refer to the work in hand as an "Exhumation Excavation".
For insurance reasons, we can only accept participation from those aged 18 years and over at the present time.
enquiries by e-mail please to :-
Cattedown Bone Cave, PHASE 1. (Stage 1.) Exhumation Excavation is
Preliminary work associated with PHASE 2. at the Cattedown Reindeer Rift Cave (south-middlle rift) has been temporarily suspended.
Hominin - Skulls.
[© Images Torquay Museum]
Hominin - various Maxillae.
PLEASE NOTE THAT MANY OF THE CATALOGUES PROVIDED IN THE LINKS BELOW ARE IN THE FORM OF DOWN-LOADABLE Microsoft WORD DOCUMENTS.
Section 10. Catalogue of the Collings Finds of 1964.
Section 12. Catalogue of the Lewarne Finds of 1974.
Catalogue of Worth's Fossil Material, held in the Plymouth City Museum,
14b. Illustrated Catalogue of Worth's Fossil Material, held
in the Plymouth City Museum, 2004,
Section 17. Burnard's Cattedown Bone Cave.
Section 19. Higher Cattedown Road (Cattedown Lane). (not yet available).
Section 21. Bibliography and Further Reading.
Hominin - various Mandibles.
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