The Filming of Carsington Pasture Cave Dig
In the early stages of the Pegasus Club's dig the original diggers Al Steans and Malc Scothon made a very quick breakthrough from the floor of the original small cave to a cavity that appeared could have been the top of a larger chamber of uncertain dimensions.
The small entrance to this cavity was enlarged by Al and Malc to allow sufficient room to access this space and permit digging in the floor below. As it seemed likely that the floor could imminently collapse, a bolt was inserted into the wall of the cavity in order that the digger could be safely belayed. As Al was digging the floor did indeed give way to reveal a void of unknown depth below. Since they had no means of safely descending the newly discovered pitch, digging was curtailed for the day. Three days later the pair returned accompanied by Andy Walchester, a 25ft length of electron ladder was lowered from the previously inserted bolt, and Andy was volunteered to explore the depths below. Andy made a short foray into what was later to be named Yorick's chamber, and returned very quickly clearly somewhat disturbed, gibbering on about seeing an upturned horned animal skull surrounded by human skulls.
When we settled ourselves down, we realised that due to the presence of human remains, it would be necessary to report our findings to the police and also the Derbyshire County Council. We also thought that it was important to have some photographic evidence of our find with everything in situ. Consequently we contacted the Derbyshire County Council and also long time Pegasus member and semi-professional photographer Kay Wills.
Kay along with archaeologists from the DCC accompanied Al, Andy and Malc the following weekend for further exploration of the cave extension. Kay began the first of a number of video recordings on this occasion. The video footage is a compilation of these various recordings, charting the early progress of the dig. This footage was originally shown on Kay's facebook site on You tube, Kay has kindly allowed us to include the video on the Pegasus website.
Kay's video clearly documents the extension to the cave as it was discovered, there is clear footage of the skull calcited into the cave wall, the horned animal skull sitting atop a tallus and some small but pretty formations. The electron ladder being descended is the original one, this was soon removed once the cave was stabilized with shoring and scaffolding, the pitch thus becoming a simple climb down. The film goes on to show a second chamber leading off to the right of the entrance, it was here in Flasid chamber that a number of Roman Coins were found. After initial exploration it was decided to temporarily block the original entrance to prevent access by the general public. The upper man made shaft dropping into the top of the entry chamber was fitted with a fixed iron ladder and was secured with a lockable lid. This new entrance features as the video progresses.
During this first session of filming our guests from the Derbyshire County Council were also shown the lidded entrance shaft to the nearby Carsington Pasture Pot, the site where the Pegasus initially began digging in the Carsington Pasture area.
As the dig continued and the extension grew in depth and length, more and more club members and friends assisted in the excavations, a host of familiar Pegasus faces are captured on camera as the later filming sessions were shot.
This video compilation only covers the early stages of the dig. The extensions as they developed can be seen on the BBC Time Team episode "Carsington Pasture Cave". The Time Team programme does not show the deeper part of the cave below Yorick's Chamber as it was deemed too difficult and dangerous to film in that area, this part of the cave shows clear evidence of visits and workings by the old Derbyshire lead miners.
Access to the cave is controlled by the Pegasus Caving club and sporadic visits to the site are still being made to continue with the digging and to maintain the site in good order. The cave continues to yield more bones, both human and animal and still displays enormous potential for future generations of explorers.
During the exploration of the cave and also throughout the filming of the time team episode, we were afforded the utmost courtesy and freedom of access from the landowners, the landlords and the locals. In order to repay their hospitality and tolerance, a talk and a slideshow pertaining to Carsington Pasture cave, followed by a questions and answers session, was arranged in the Brassington Village Hall. An open invite was extended to all interested parties, this was well received and attended. Kay was again invited to record the proceedings on camera.
Alan Steans 2017