Kinsey Cave, Giggleswick Scar


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010295

Date first listed: 27-Apr-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Aug-1992


Ordnance survey map of Kinsey Cave, Giggleswick 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: Giggleswick


National Grid Reference: SD 80384 65668


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 Kinsey Cave is an important example due not only to the presence of rare organic and human material but also the survival of very substantial archaeological deposits both inside and outside the cave.


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


Kinsey Cave is situated on High Scar above Giggleswick Scar, north-west of Settle. It lies approximately 130m above Huntworth Beck and 10m below the plateau. The cave consists of a single chamber, c.35m long and c.12m wide. The roof of the cave is c.2m high at the entrance but becomes progressively lower further into the cave. A very large talus containing intact archaeological deposits partially blocks the entrance and a considerable amount of undisturbed material survives inside the cave, sealed beneath a stalagmitic floor. Partial excavations carried out between 1925 and 1932 by Jackson and Mattinson revealed not only Bronze Age and Roman remains but also stratified material of Later Upper Palaeolithic type. The finds comprise tools and waste flakes of flint and chert, an antler point and fragmentary human remains. Faunal remains of large and small mammals occur throughout the cave deposits, enabling potential reconstruction of climatic changes from the Late Glacial onwards. The scheduling includes the cave and the deposits as far back as 35m and the deposits of the talus which extend to a distance of 100m beyond the cave entrance.

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: 13248

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Campbell, J B, The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain, (1977)
Jackson, J W, Mattinson, W K, 'The Naturalist' in A Cave On Giggleswick Scar, Near Settle, Yorkshire, (1932)
Archive material, T.C. Lord, Simpson, E., Kinsey Cave, showing exploration by W.K. Mattinston Esq., (1932)

End of official listing