Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Dawkabottom Cave 23-02-2010

well it looks like Blogger has altered the photo lay out ? as after clicking on one to enlarge, it brings up a slide show with an X in a small black square top right to return to the Blog rather than using the back arrow !

Anyway to keep the Blog going here's one from the archives
 This was the start spur :-
History of the Yorkshire Geological and Polytechnic Society, 1837-1887.  Page 305

Parked below Sleets Gill Cave and went via the Cairns

walked along the cliff edge and spotted this (enclosure on map)

just too steep to scramble down so carried on towards the cave

kicked steps down the snow banking to come out at the stone circle (hut ?)
where the Bear whisked up a Pancake
It was that cold the gas was struggling and the squeezy honey was frozen solid !
just thought I'd share and keep the Blog ticking over, cheers all Danny
p.s. if you didn't click the first link it's here :-

In December, 1859, a meeting was held at Sheffield, at which
Mr. Denny contributed a paper on the geological and archseological
contents of the Victoria and Dowkabottom Caves in Craven. To the
eastward of Settle, and also near Arncliife, caves have long been
known in the mountain limestone. Hitherto they had been regarded
as subterraneous wonders, and had received little or no considera-
tion as the abodes of man and other animals. In August of this
year Mr. Denny, accompanied by Mr. O'Callaghan, visited Mr.
Jackson, of Settle, who had recently discovered a cave at King's Scar,
a mile and a half from Settle, at an elevation of 1,460 feet above sea
level. Mr. Jackson had already obtained from the cave ornaments,
coins, pottery, and mammalian remains, which were inspected at his
house. The cave had probably three entrances, two of which were
then partialty closed by the debris of the superincumbent precipitous
rock. The descent into the cave was rather difficult. Entering by
a steep fissure it was necessary to crawl through a low and narrow
passage into a cave, in which the visitor could scarcely stand upright ;
then through a second contracted aperture into a lofty cavern. The
floor was covered with stalagmite and clay, and strewn over with
blocks of limestone which had fallen from the roof. From this cavern
a third and nearly closed passage afforded an entrance to another large
compartment. Besides these caves were lateral fissures, whose termi-
nations were unknown. The floor of the cave consisted first of loose
stones and loamy soil, beneath which were charcoal ashes mixed
with bones, antiquarian relics, and earth ; below was clay, stalagmite
and rock. In some parts the stalagmite rose to the surface, and
immediately beneath was clay, with bones and relics. In other parts
the loamy clay with charcoal ashes, containing bones, pottery, and
other ancient remains, rested upon a solid limestone floor.
The Dowkabottom Caves, near Arncliife, are situated on a lofty
plateau of the rocky crags of the Kilnsey Range, 1,250 feet above the
sea, from which a descent is made into a lofty chamber from whose
roof hang large masses of stalactite. Turning by a narrow passage to
the left, a large, lofty cave is entered, a considerable portion of the
floor of which is covered with stalagmite, owing to the constant flow
of a rapid stream of water through it from the extreme end of a
narrow gallery of considerable extent. "Whitaker, in his " History of
Craven/' thus describes the scenery in which Dowkabottom Cave is
located : " Dowkabottom Hole is about two miles north from Kiln-
sey Crag, high up in the hills, and surrounded by cliffs of limestone.
The entrance is an oblong chasm in the surface, overhung with ivy
and fern ; at the south end is a narrow but lofty opening into a
cavern of no great extent. The view downward from the north is
tremendous. On this side it is very lofty, and extends to a con-
siderable distance. The rocks at the top, and particularly near the
entrance, hang down in the most picturesque shapes, and both these
and the sides are covered with petrified moss, richly tinted."
In the first chamber of the Dowkabottom Cave some very large
stones occupied the surface ; on the removal of these was found a
layer of charcoal ashes nearly 2 feet in thickness, amongst which
was a fragment of a bronze fibulae. Mr. Hodgson, who excavated
this spot along with Mr. Farrer, of Ingleborough House, discovered
the remains of three human skeletons laid in the bed of clay about
a foot deep. Underneath the clay was a layer of soft stalagmite,
and at the base of this several skulls and bones of the wolf and goat,
and the horns of a deer were found. On the first examination of
these different caves by Mr. Jackson, the bones and teeth of animals
were found, with relics of human art scattered indiscriminately over
the floor, or just below the surface in the charcoal ashes previously
alluded to, and the first specimens obtained, consisting of various
articles of British and Roman art, coins, bones and teeth of the tiger,
hyaena, bear, and wild boar, (the latter identified by Dr. Buckland),
were deposited in the British Museum, and a description was read
before the Society of Antiquaries of London, by Mr. C. R. Smith.
The number of personal ornaments and implements of various kinds
indicated that the several caves were for a considerable period the
abode of human beings. The investigations of Mr. Jackson had
resulted in the accumulation of a considerable number of these
objects. He found about 24 fibulae of bronze, and five of iron, of
various sizes and appearances, many in fine preservation and highly
ornamented, some apparently plated with silver. Two bronze armlets
and four fragments of others, two rings, and bronze articles like studs,
one long comb, (probably used for the back of the head), and frag-
ments of another. Portions of what appear to have been small-tooth
combs made of bone had been found. Six bronze pins, (one of them
with a flat head the size of a shilling, and plated), bone needles,
bone spoons, with the handles rudely carved, and the bowls with a
hole in the centre ; remains of knives, a key, bone arrow heads and
other implements, and the head of an adze made of trap ; the canine
teeth probably of the wolf, perforated for ornament ; fragments of
glass, mostly for ornament ; and pottery of the ordinary Roman red
or Saurian ware ; and some flint and stone implements, together with
Roman coins of the date of Trajan and Constantino, were embraced
in Mr. Jackson's collection. In the exploration of the Dowkabottom
Cave already alluded to, in addition to the bones mentioned, were
jaws and skulls of the short-horned ox, the sheep, and the goat, bones
of the horse, skulls and jaws of the wild boar, the horns of the red
deer, and pottery of Roman character, and other remains of man.
It was well known that Yorkshire was inhabited at remote periods by
the hyaena, bear, tiger, and wolf ; that such animals reside in caves,
and their bones were frequently found in a fossil state in the caves
in other parts of the country ; and it was probable that the carnivorous
species inhabited the caves and carried the remains of other animals
into them for food. This conjecture was rendered probable from the
fact that when the caves were first discovered the skulls and bones
of various animals were strewn over the floors in considerable num-
bers, but as they were not considered of value in comparison with
the relics of human art they were neglected, broken, and destroyed.
The animals identified by Mr. Denny, occurring in the Victoria Cave,
were the cave tiger, the bear, (Ursus arctos), the badger, hysena, fox,
wild boar, hare, water-rat, short- horned ox, and the horse ; whilst
from the Dowkabottom Cave were obtained the wolf, the wild dog,
ox, wild boar, water-rat, red deer, sheep, goat, short-horned ox, and
the horse. The facies of the two sets of animal remains appears to
indicate that whilst the Victoria Cave was occupied by hyaenas, and
that they dragged into it the remains of other animals brought there
for food, the Dowkabottom Cave was not a den of hyenas, but appears
to have been the abode of bears and wolves.
In March, 1865, Mr. Farrer, of Ingleborough House, along with
Mr. Denny, contributed the results of further explorations in the
Dowkabottom Cave. The surface of the western chamber was com-
posed of 14 inches of broken stone, earth, and charcoal, in which were
found fragments of pottery, part composed of coarse black earth, and the
other of red Samian pottery. Below was a bed of clay 18 inches thick,
resting on a stratum of soft stalagmite, about 3 feet thick, in which the
bones of several animals were obtained. The soft stalagmite rested
on a bed of hard stalagmite, 8 inches in thickness, upon which lay a
nearly perfect skeleton of a very fine specimen of the gigantic red
deer, with antlers of great beauty. An excavation was made to the
depth of 6 feet, passing through clay mixed with stones and gravel ;
and a boring rod was inserted for a further distance of 6 feet through
soft clay, without reaching any bottom. The chamber eastwards
from the opening was also examined, and beneath 18 inches of clay
the hard stalagmite was dug through down to the rock, 4 yards and
a half in thickness. A flint implement was found, along with horns
of the red deer, and a portion of the left antler of the gigantic Irish
elk (Megaceros Hibernicus), which forms the second instance of
the remains occurring in Yorkshire. Shortly before the reading of
the paper, whilst exploring the west chamber, about 4 yards from the
spot where the skeleton of the red deer was discovered, a slight
hollow or grave was disclosed, which had been dug in the hard stalag-
mite, measuring 1 foot long, 8 inches wide, and H inches in depth,
in which were the remains of a skeleton of a child probably 2 years
of age. The bones were in a very imperfect and fragile condition,
and were embedded in the superimposed soft stalagmite. The whole
of the bones and other objects obtained during these excavations are
stated to have been presented to the Museum of the Leeds Philo-
sophical Society by Mr. Farrer. The two chambers extend conjointly
390 feet in length, and as the entrance to another fresh cave had
been discovered, additional and important results might be expected,
it being Mr. Farrer's intention to make a further examination of the
new cave.


  1. Good post Danny with lots of interesting facts.
    What’s the corrugated tube thingy next to teddy?

  2. Hi Alan, it's a Swiss Army Volcano stove used here
    and can be used with this (you made a comment)
    you can burn twigs or heather at a push but that soots every thing up
    cheers Danny

  3. Have yiu ever visited settle museum? It has a lot about the cave archeology around Settle. That must be the father of reginald farrer mentioned there. RF was a plant collector noted for shooting seeds from a shot gun into the cliff on the far side of the lake on the nature trail as you walk up from clapham to trow gill and gg. Intetesting you mention sleets gill. I once had a bit of a carbide explosion in one of the wet crawls there. It was very loud and yellow. And then it was very black!

  4. Hi Tony, Settle's only 20 miles away but no I've never visited the museum I'll make a point now cheers. the last time I was down Sleets Gill in the 1960's there use to be test tubes on the wall at the far end just to prove how far it flooded ! and I've seen it coming out of the entrance in full spate - Danny

  5. Thanks Danny.
    I see you can still buy them under £5.
    They look pretty light. Am i correct?

  6. under a £5 sounds a good price I paid about £8 (new)a few years ago but havn't seen them much since I've just weighed mine 14.25 Oz cup/bottle/stove. Did you check out
    cheers Danny