Victoria Cave, Langcliffe Scar


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010290

Date first listed: 27-Apr-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Aug-1992


Ordnance survey map of Victoria Cave, Langcliffe Scar
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Langcliffe


National Grid Reference: SD 83828 65038


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Palaeolithic caves and rock shelters provide some of the earliest evidence of human activity in the period from about 400,000 to 10,000 years ago. The sites, all natural topographic features, occur mainly in hard limestone in the north and west of the country, although examples also exist in the softer rocks of south-east England. Evidence for human occupation is often located near the cave entrances, close to the rock walls or on the exterior platforms. The interiors sometimes served as special areas for disposal and storage or were places where material naturally accumulated from the outside. Because of the special conditions of deposition and preservation, organic and other fragile materials often survive well and in stratigraphic association. Caves and rock shelters are therefore of major importance for understanding this period. Due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all examples with good survival of deposits are considered to be nationally important.

The Palaeolithic caves of the Yorkshire Dales belong to a major regional group of which Victoria Cave is an important example due to the survival of extensive deposits both inside and outside the cave and, in particular, the preservation of rare organic artefacts.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Victoria Cave lies approximately 30m up the east side of King's Scar, a lateral valley of the River Ribble near Settle. It is a large solution cave formed within a more extensive limestone rift system. The cave consists of three interconnecting chambers with access to the outside via two entrances. A fissure exists about 10m further north and is considered to be part of the same cave system. Excavations have taken place both inside and outside the cave in the 19th and 20th centuries. These have produced a small but diverse collection of Late Upper Palaeolithic artefacts including flint tools and a rare example of decorated antlerwork. A harpoon previously identified as Palaeolithic is now believed to be of Mesolithic age. There is also a very rich faunal sequence from the cave dating back 100,000 years into the last Interglacial but, so far, there is no archaeological evidence from this early period. Archaeological excavations have been responsible for partial removal of deposits inside the main entrance and the area just outside the cave mouth. The main entrance measures about 30m wide and 10m high while the main interior chamber extends for a distance of about 50m. Although the deposits in these places have been greatly reduced, significant portions remain for future investigation. These include deposits of the chambers covered by plastic matting and rocks, sediments within the cave protected by natural roof fall, the entrance platform outside both entrances and intact areas on either side of the cave mouth. The scheduling therefore includes the cave and side fissure and the deposits which extend out onto the platform and talus outside the entrances in an arc of 30m.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 13246

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Campbell, J B, The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain, (1977)
Gascoyne, M, Currant, A P, Lord, T C, Ipswichian Fauna of Victoria Cave and Marine Palaeoclimatic Record, (1981)
King, A, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Summary Excavation Reports: Victoria Cave, Settle, N. Yorkshire, , Vol. 46, (1980)

End of official listing