The Devon Karst Research Society.

The Society's Homepages for the
Turnchapel, Plymouth, Devon, England, U.K.

Text and images throughout the Turnchapel Pages is by B. Lewarne, Honorary Science Officer.
© 2006 The Devon Karst Research Society, Turnchapel Bone Cave pages all original text and images.

Updated on 24 April 2004.
The Turnchapel Bone Cave
WARNING!!  The exact location of this Bone Cave is not given in order to preserve the ongoing privacy demanded by the landowners.
Permission to visit the site or to excavate it, will not be given by the Landowner.

This single Page presents a unique, although partial record of a previously unrecorded Bone Cave. Some details have been witheld as a matter of protecting the privacy of the landowner.
The Turnchapel Bone Cave is, as far as we can determine, previously unrecorded anywhere in the published literature. This "little gem" of a cave location is one of many such surprises lurking in the depths of the Society's Archives. Surprisingly also is the fact that having discovered the site, we have apparently done very little about it.
The accidental discovery of the site in March 1978 was as a result of a general and systematic investigation, by the Society, of all limestone quarry faces in the area. The discovery of this location in the Turnchapel Quarry was followed by the permission of the interested landowner to allow us to photograph it and proceed with the clearance of a general refuse heap built up in front of it and to clear the immediate area of the embedded heavy growth of foliage.
There was then a quick change of ownership of the land. Permission to undertake further site-clearance work and follow-up passive investigative research, was withdrawn, with "privacy" being cited as the reason. The Society has, however, maintained a "watching brief" on this location.

The Society's Photographic Archive contains only two low-quality views (colour) of this amazing bone cave, recorded at the time of our discovery in March 1978. We have digitalized them without using any digital enhancing processes and they are featured below. Both views feature an obvious bedrock limestone quarry face containing a cave, which at the point of observation, is filled almost completely to the roof with cave sediment taking the form of a "Talus", implying that it has accumulated in the cave passage as a result of falling or rolling down from a higher level, much in the same way as sand falls through the central orifice from the top to the bottom chamber in a classic egg-timer!

The Turnchapel Bone Cave
Image TBC1. (above-left)  Indicates the Turnchapel Bone Cave during the initial site-cleanup operation in March 1978.
Waste debris is being collected and piled up in the foreground, ready for removal off-site. Damaging Ivy growth is being carefully removed.
Image TBC2. (above-right)  Indicates the site after removal of all waste metal and other materials on the same day in March 1978.
Note the lowered area in front of the cave and note also that there is no limestone bedrock cave floor at the base of the\cleared area.
The Turnchapel Bone Cave According to the landowner, representatives of Southampton University appeared at the Site in 1978-79 with a request to excavate. Permission was granted and investigations began at the top of the Talus Deposit. Stones were remove and findings were declared. During the process, so much mess was created that permission to excavate was withdrawn from the University Team.

The last time the Site was visited was in April 2004, for the occasional "watching brief" appraisal. The following image indicates the situation as viewed at that time. The landowner assures us that there are no plans to change the status quo of this area, a situation about which drastic steps have been taken to guarantee. Privacy continues to be the overruling priority. The next visit is planned for 2006.

The Turnchapel Bone Cave

Image TBC3. (above)  Indicates the same location as seen in April 2004.
Note the damaging growth of the established trees and the continued presence of the lowered area in front of the "Talus" section. The foliage really needs to be cleared.

The site is not subject to current activities by the Society under its Science Programme, due to the continuing privacy requirements of the landowners.


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