Hallowe'en Rift, Mendip Hills

Excursions [and other notes] involved in the exploration of Hallowe'en Rift; a cave, so far, formed within Triassic Dolomitic Conglomerate.

The exploration of Hallowe'en Rift was started in 1982 by Trevor Hughes with other members of the Bristol Exploration Club, then during the early 1990's Vince Simmonds and other, mostly, local diggers were active at a number of locations within the cave, including the start of the present dig with Graham Johnson in December 1991. The current phase of exploration was commenced in 2009, with the majority of the early work being carried out by Vince Simmonds and Alex Gee, now the regular team includes Rob 'Tav' Taviner, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Nick Hawkes, Matt Tuck, Jonathon Riley, Paul 'Brockers' Brock, Roz Simmonds, Duncan Price and Mike Moxon. There has been occasional help from others including Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, with regular guest appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasy.

30th March 2019

digging 2019Posted by Vince Simmonds Mon, April 01, 2019 21:02:59

I attended the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society (SANHS) Annual Archaeology Day at Wells and Mendip Museum, and was unavailable for the Saturday morning digging session at Hallowe’en Rift.

The following report was provided by Jon:

“Five of the team (Tav, Jon, Duncan, Jake and Paul) met at the appointed hour. Although one later admitted that it was only because he had nothing better to do on a Saturday.

With the attendance a little lower than usual, it was proposed that we should dig in what is now known as the ‘Soft South’. The motion was carried unanimously, and the team set off up the hill on what proved to be a fine spring morning.

The decision to dig south was influenced by the need to keep all team members involved (a key factor for a successful dig) and by the wish to ensure that all digging spoil was removed to the surface (another key factor). Another key factor is the key.

Digging started a little later than usual.

There was much debate about who should work where. Digging took place at two faces during the previous week and involved three of the team. Under the normal rules of rotation, Tav, Duncan and Paul could all claim a place on the surface on a fine sunny morning. Paul and Duncan each tabled motion’s claiming their own right. Tav, as the sagest of the elders on duty, ruled that any vote on the matter could only be indicative and that the team had to abide by the house rules. As a result, Jon was moved up the order from surface duties the previous week, directly to the dig face, with Paul in support. Tav worked at the bottom of the entrance. Jake and Duncan worked on their sun tans.

81 bags of spoil were removed along with 25 loads of stone, mainly from the previous week.

At the end of the session, three members of the team successfully locked the cave, and all retired to a local hostelry for liquid refreshment.”

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