Whitcombe's Hole

Mendip cave archaeologynotes

Posted by Vince Simmonds Wed, January 21, 2015 21:23:13

Simmonds, V. 2014. An overview of the archaeology of Mendip caves and karst. Mendip Cave Register & Archive (MCRA).

I've not been completely idle over the past couple of years and some of that time has been spent beavering away at putting together 'An overview of the archaeology of Mendip caves and karst' freely available online in the archaeology section of the Mendip Cave Register & Archive at www.mcra.org.uk

24th December 2013fieldwork

Posted by Vince Simmonds Tue, December 24, 2013 15:39:13

After yesterdays washout decided to stroll up to Whitcombe's Hole and draw/record the south east facing section photographed last week. Spent about an hour at the cave before returning home.

15th December 2013fieldwork

Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, December 15, 2013 15:47:54

It's a damp day and quite wet along the path to Whitcombe's Hole. At the cave it is noticeably wetter than last week moisture can be seen on the walls and there is an audible drip. Took a few minutes to sort myself out before digging commenced. Got a new tool kit roll to try out for the first time today!

The damp conditions made sieving a bit more difficult. It took a little longer than anticipated to remove some stubborn cave sediment [still some more to come off] so that any idea of drawing the section was put aside. Took some photo's though (see below)

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South east facing section. Scale is 0.30 metres.

Cave sediment:

Very compact [cemented] yellowish brown silty SAND & GRAVEL with some iron staining. Gravel is fine to coarse, subround to round of sandstone with occasional subangular gravel of limestone. There are some pockets of manganese wad and occasional fossil fragments mostly of crinoid stems. So far this material is devoid of any archaeological or palaeontological finds.

Blog imageSE facing section in relation to the passage. Scale is 0.30 metres.

7th December 2013fieldwork

Posted by Vince Simmonds Sat, December 07, 2013 16:40:50

Change of plans re: digging this weekend, didn't have a team for Hallowe'en Rift so decided to get on with Whitcombe's Hole a day earlier.

The image below is the view out of the entrance chamber to the opposite side of Burrington Combe.
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Last week's gardening along the approach to the cave proved sufficient so I didn't need to trim any branches with the saw. Don't want the track too obvious.

The first job in hand was to do some tidying around the entrance. Emptied some of the spoil bags that had been left outside the entrance. The bags that were left inside the cave were then sieved over a 6.3mm x 300mm diameter wire mesh laboratory test sieve (BS410-1:2000). Unfortunately some of the spoil was too wet to sieve effectively and was discarded. Will bring a stiff brush next time which will be useful for cleaning the mesh. When the clearing up was finished I carried on with the digging, sieving the spoil before disposal. My plan is to tidy up the full section and then record; I will draw the section to include passage shape and dimension.

I cleared away the upper layer down to the lower cave sediment which will be removed next session before recording.

Buster, my Jack Russell, was getting a bit bored by now so called it a day and went to the Hunter's Lodge for lunch.

1st December 2013fieldwork

Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, December 01, 2013 17:16:31

I decided it was about time I took another look at Whitcombe's Hole after the dry year we've had. There were certainly a few changes on the approach to the cave, a lot of the scrub has collapsed and it was necessary to make a new path, will bring the saw next visit to clear some branches. At the cave, it is dry enough to restart the excavation and a new strategy was quickly formulated. Next weekend will revisit to get on with the project.

14th October 2012fieldwork

Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, October 14, 2012 13:15:05

I have to confess that the fieldwork that I intended to carry out at Whitcombe's Hole just hasn't happened. This is due mainly to the exploration work at Hallowe'en Rift, a particularly wet and crappy summer and a change of career - now employed as a Field Archaeologist and have been working on a number of sites in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Devon. Hopefully things will settle and the field work will commence albeit rather later than planned.

13th May 2012fieldwork

Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, May 13, 2012 18:27:07

A rather brief visit to carry some of the excavation kit to the cave followed by a little bit of a tidy up.

Blog image

Rather surprisingly there wasn't too much debris blown into the site although it was pretty damp in the cave.

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Brushed up some of the blown in debris in the entrance chamber but didn't venture further.

To follow up last years excavation there might be some merit spending some time ensuring that notihng has been missed before moving on.

Summary of the 2011 fieldworknotes

Posted by Vince Simmonds Thu, May 10, 2012 19:27:58

Permission has been given to continue the archaeological investigation at Whitcombe's Hole in Burrington Combe. The fieldwork planned for 2012 will take place from mid-May to the end of November.

The attached pdf is a summary of the fieldwork carried out in 2011.