Cave Archaeology Group

BCRA Special Interest Group

Welcome to the website of the Cave Archaeology Group - a Special Interest Group (SIG) of the
British Cave Research Association


The Cave Archaeology Group (CAG) assists members of the caving community become aware of and promote interest in the existence of archaeological remains, in and around caves.

We aim to promote working relationships between cavers and archaeologists and to encourage a two-way transfer of education and skills, leading to a better understanding between individuals, groups and disciplines.

CAG was launched following a two-year series of meetings and lectures, working under the banner of the Upland Caves Network. This was organised by Dr Hannah O’Regan, then of Liverpool John Moores University, with funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This discussion group brought together people with a common interest in caves, including cavers, geologists, archaeologists, biologists, palaeontologists and museum curators.

Caves are unique environments, often holding important records of environmental and cultural change. Some have been used by humans for leisure, burial and ritual purposes for thousands of years. Several parts of Britain have caves of archaeological interest, with deposits dating from before the last Ice Age through to the Mediaeval periods and beyond.

What should you do if you find archaeological remains in a cave? At the top of the Downloads page you will find four files: Cave Archaeology Guidelines Parts 1 to 4. These forms are for making an initial record in the field, together with photographs (preferably with a scale) which you can then take with you out of the cave. Artefacts or remains should be left undisturbed as far as possible, except when at obvious and immediate risk of destruction or looting. Armed with your initial records, advice and help should then be sought from persons or organisations who have more experience in the subject of cave archaeology. National parks, Natural England, caving organisations and similar bodies may have officers who can help, or point you towards individuals in your part of the country who can offer assistance. Remember - that is also what this BCRA Special Interest Group exists to do!! We are here to help and point you in the right direction, should you come across archaeological or palaeontological remains during your caving exploits. Please contact us by using the link at the foot of the page.

This website has been set up to provide a focal point for information on cave archaeology and related subjects. Its success depends on your support by contributing any material, digging news, discoveries, reports, web-links and so on that you may be involved with, or know about. In this way we hope the site will act as a magnet for cave archaeology related information which can be disseminated to a wider audience, with the aim of protecting the important and little appreciated archaeological cave heritage of Great Britain. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this website or the Cave Archaeology Group, please let us know and the website will grow!

We want your contributions! If you have any news you would like to include on this website; for example, potential or recognised archaeology in or around cave sites, photos, surveys, reports etc, please let us know.

Should you discover unusual bones or objects of interest in caves we can offer advice on what to do next and who to contact. We may be able to put you in touch with archaeologists or other specialists who would be happy to advise you how to proceed when you find that elusive Palaeolithic rock art!

If you are interested in cave archaeology and palaeontology and wish to become a member of the Cave Archaeology Group, please forward your name, location and email details using the link at the bottom of this page. You can also join our Facebook group by clicking on the button on the top right of this page.

See Cave Projects page for exciting news of a new cave excavation in the Yorkshire Dales in 2016 ———Also, be Part of the Victoria Cave story: see link at the bottom of the downloads page.