University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Upwards at 45 Degrees: the Use of Vertical Caves During the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age on Mendip, Somerset

Lewis, Jodie ORCID: (2000) Upwards at 45 Degrees: the Use of Vertical Caves During the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age on Mendip, Somerset. Cave Archaeology and Palaeontology Research Archive (CAPRA), 2. ISSN 1467-8837

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The Mendip Hills in Somerset contain geological features known locally as swallets, vertical 'shafts' in the limestone, usually formed by dissolutional activity. In recent years, excavations by cavers have revealed a range of archaeological material placed inside them. The materials are generally of prehistoric date, and seem to indicate a climax of deposition in the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age. Using the evidence from two sites, Charterhouse Warren Farm Swallet and Brimble Pit Swallet, it is argued that swallets were being used for deliberate ritual deposition during these periods. A link between swallets and monuments is also made, both in terms of the material placed within them and their spatial relationship in the landscape. The possibility of the chthonic 'cults' of the Iron Age and Roman periods having a much earlier origin is also considered.

Item Type: Article
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The full-text of this article can be freely accessed from the CAPRA website.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Mendip, Mendip Hills, Bronze Age, swallets, deposition, ritual monuments
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Jodie Lewis
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2009 09:12
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:51

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