Dead Man's Cave, Anston


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013468

Date first listed: 07-Sep-1992


Ordnance survey map of Dead Man's Cave, Anston
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Rotherham (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: North and South Anston

National Grid Reference: SK 52762 83530


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 South Yorkshire form a small but significant regional group of which Dead Man's Cave is an important example owing to the survival of rare organic material and in situ deposits.


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


Dead Man's Cave is situated on the north side of a shallow gorge, lying above Anston Brook and the Brantcliffe-Dinnington railway line and just below the plateau. It consists of an entrance fissure, 2.5m wide and 1.5m high, leading via a narrow passage to a chamber 4.5m long by 3m wide. The chamber contains limestone blocks from roof fall. A narrow platform 3m wide exists outside the entrance of the cave. Partial excavations carried out between 1967 and c.1970 have revealed Roman artefacts and also material dating from the Later Upper Palaeolithic. The latter comprises 21 lithic artefacts, including points and straight backed pieces, and fragments of reindeer bone and antler that have been radiocarbon dated to c.9850 years ago and may be associated with the occupation evidence. Additional material is expected to survive beneath the stalagmitic floor at the rear of the cave and also on the entrance platform. Remnants of deposit also survive along the cave walls. The scheduling includes the cave and the deposits from the back chamber to the entrance and extending in a c.3m arc around the cave mouth.

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: 13251

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jenkinson, R D S, Creswell Crags: Late Pleistocene Sites in the East Midlands, (1984)
Barker, H, Burleigh, R, Meeks, N, 'Radiocarbon' in British Museum Natural Radiocarbon Measurements, , Vol. 13, (1971), 157-88
Jenkinson, R D S, 'The Archaeology of Northern Britain' in A Reappraisal of the Later UP Occupation of Dead Man's Cave, ()

End of official listing