A Stroll Down Memory Lane
On Tuesday 10th of January 2017 a small team comprising original diggers Malc Scothon, Al Steans, Dave Walker, a new member Steve Sheldon and the club’s in-house archaeologist revisited Carsington Pasture Cave. The purpose of the visit was to check out a recent collapse noticed by Malc in the entrance chamber. The collapse was located immediately inside the entrance on the left hand wall and was the place where the Time Team Communication’s Coordinator was positioned with his lap top, table and chair all those years ago.
We entered the cave by the shaft entrance and although the lid to the shaft was locked and intact it showed signs of an attempt at an illegal entry by persons unknown. The fixed iron ladder was sound and secure. We made our way to look at the collapse whereupon Malc decided to visit Flasid chamber to see if there was any change there. Dave joined him. Malc shone his light up a hole in the left hand side of the roof of Flasid. I could clearly see this light from the entrance chamber. Thoughts of a hoped for new extension were immediately dashed. No other changes in Flasid were observed, apart from the floor level being several inches higher. Malc decided to do some poking around in the extension in the far left hand corner of the chamber. This was where a boot print in the mud floor had been discovered in the early explorations. Malc seconded Dave to assist him.
Meanwhile Steve had descended straight down into Yorrick's where he ensconced himself in a search for bones, in the exact same place that Time Team’s Kate had triggered a minor collapse during live filming back in the day.
By the time I had left Malc and Dave in Flasid and joined Steve, he was terminating his dig having decided just as we had done many years before that it was too unstable and dangerous to continue there.
Both Malc and Steve were rewarded for there efforts with many finds. Two more partial skulls of neo-nates , other human bones, vertebrae from a huge auroch, bear’s teeth and a superb example of a boar’s tusk, along with shards of pottery and small pieces of flint were uncovered in the ample mud by Malc. Steve found a great many much cleaner human and animal bones in Yorrick's. The cave just keeps on giving.
Steve made a video recording of procedures which he is at present editing. Hopefully this will be forthcoming in the near future.
It’s over a dozen years ago that I was last at this site and as such I was pleasantly surprised at the stable condition of the cave having expected it to be in a state of partial collapse. The scaffolding inserted to facilitate the climb down into Yorricks was in relatively good shape although some shoring needs replacing before it gives way. Some reinforcement is needed at the bottom. The enclosure constructed on the right had wall of the chamber to house the Time Team cameraman and sound technician is still doing its job in holding back a huge collection of deads, yielded by many years of sporadic digging and some minor collapses. Likewise the scaffolding inserted in the climb down into the lower reaches is still in good order. This was as far as I ventured on the day but Geordie Dave assured me that when he visited the lower section a few months ago, everything was stable and in situ.
Notwithstanding any of the above, a great deal of care is needed whilst exploring the Cavern and much caution needs to be employed during actual digging. It is not a place to dig alone in.