Brownes' Hole


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010709

Date first listed: 04-Sep-1991


Ordnance survey map of Brownes' Hole
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: Mendip (District Authority)

Parish: Stoke St. Michael

National Grid Reference: ST 66928 47558


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 21 sites in Somerset form the densest and one of the most important concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. Although largely excavated in the interior, the deposits outside the cave entrances of Brownes' Hole retain considerable potential for the survival of environmental and human evidence dating to the last glaciation.


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


Brownes' Hole lies in Cook's Wood, c.50m west of Bector Lane and 5m above the immediate valley floor. There are two entrances to this cave, several metres apart, with passages leading back that interconnect and extend into a number of small galleries, known collectively as the `Entrance Series'. A low-level partly flooded passage is the start of the `Upstream Series', a system of tubes leading east and considered unlikely to contain archaeological deposits. Excavations of the `Entrance Series' by Messrs. Browne of Frome in 1946-7 were extensive and amongst the reported finds were a human skeleton and faunal remains, including hyaena. Archaeological deposits survive in situ outside both entrances. They occur beneath archaeological tip at the western entrance and on either side of the access trench which cuts through the talus of the south-western entrance. The monument, therefore, includes the cave and the remaining deposits of the `Entrance Series' as well as an arc of 15m around both entrances. A modern water tank outside the western entrance is excluded from the scheduling.

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: 13263

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Barrington, N, Stanton, W I, Mendip: The Complete Caves and a View of the Hills, (1977)
Barton, R N E and Collcutt, S N, Brownes' Hole - extended AM107, (1986)

End of official listing