Bracelet Cave


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012062

Date first listed: 27-Sep-1991


Ordnance survey map of Bracelet Cave
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 18:54:33.


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

County: Somerset

District: Mendip (District Authority)

Parish: St. Cuthbert Out

National Grid Reference: ST 52283 48340


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 this type of monument in the country. Bracelet Cave is regarded as important due to the survival of substantial areas of archaeological deposit outside the entrance.


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


Bracelet Cave is situated in Hope Wood at the southern end of Ebbor Gorge, 42m above the valley floor and 12m below the plateau. It comprises a large entrance passage, c.4m high and 3m wide, with two higher level entrances at the back. The cave was extensively excavated by E.J. Mason for Wookey Hole Caves between 1955 and 1962 and the sides of his trench, which cuts through the talus, can still be identified. Amongst the finds unearthed were the remains of nine human skeletons of late Prehistoric type (probably Bronze Age) in a layer four feet thick which overlay thermoclastic scree deposits. At the entrance was a Bronze Age bracelet. In addition to these and Roman finds were chert artefacts of Upper Palaeolithic type, believed to come from within or beneath the scree. Although much of the cave interior has been excavated, a considerable depth of deposit survives in the talus on either side of the main access trench. There are also important deposit remnants adhering to the walls of the cave. The monument includes the cave and its deposits to a distance of 25m within the cave and outside the entrance in an arc of radius 15m.

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: 13267

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
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)
Jackson, J W, 'British Caving: an introduction to speleology' in Archaeology and Palaeontology, (1962), 252-246
Mason, E J, 'Proc. Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society' in Excavation Of A Rock Shelter, Bracelet Cave...Ebbor..., , Vol. 116, (1972), 111-12

End of official listing