Great Oone's Hole


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sedgemoor (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 46796 53936

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. Great Oone's Hole is particularly significant because large areas of archaeological deposit remain unexcavated near the entrance of the cave.


Great Oone's Hole is situated on the left bank of Cheddar Gorge, c.80m above the current valley floor and c.15m below the plateau. It consists of a 4m wide gated entrance leading into a roomy tunnel, c.150m long and running horizontally before sloping steeply downwards towards a choke at the back of the cave. Outside the entrance is a narrow platform, 5m wide, bordered by a modern retaining wall. Partial excavations carried out by Porch in c.1902 and by the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society in the 1970s have revealed Later Upper Palaeolithic flint artefacts and faunal material. Iron Age and Roman finds have also been recovered from the cave. There are also fake cave paintings on the cave wall. Although the excavations were concentrated near the entrance of the cave, considerable quantities of deposit still remain within 20m of the mouth, against the wall and under fallen roof blocks, and outside on the platform, underneath excavation tip. All these deposits are included in 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Balch, H E, Mendip - Cheddar, its Gorge and Caves, (1947)
Barrington, N, Stanton, W I, Mendip: The Complete Caves and a View of the Hills, (1977)
Campbell, J B, The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain, (1977)
Stanton, W I, 'Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society' in Cheddar Gorge and Gough's Cave, , Vol. 17, no 2, (1986), 121-8


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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