The Devon Karst Research Society.

The Society's Homepage for the
THE BONE CAVES OF PLYMOUTH AND DISTRICT,
Plymouth, Devon, England, United Kingdom.

Updated 17 Novemberber 2006.

The City of Plymouth, England has had a remarkable history of bone-cave discoveries since the very beginning of the 19th Century, when the Breakwater Quarries at Oreston first breached caves filled with fossil bones. The climax of these occasional encounters with the City's buried fossil heritage surely came with the breaching of a fissure at Cattedown in Autumn 1886, wherein was eventually discovered the remains of at least fifteen hominids, which were subsequently excavated and researched by a local naturalist, R.N. Worth and others. Further occasional discoveries of bone caves within the City were made up until the end of the 20th Century.
The present work in hand by the Society is to try to preserve the remnants of those sites and to guarantee their future and scientific integrity during times when our political administrators and the bureaucratic élite of the City Council continue to have little regard for the amazing natural karst and cave heritage of our City. Indeed, it can be claimed that at least from the time of the rebuilding of the City after the devastation of the Second World War to the present day, the City Authorities have paid scant regard to this wonderful aspect of our history. In recent years, the City Council has removed the City's Archaeological Department from the position of being an essential adjunct of the City Museum, to that of being a back room department in the City Council's Planning Department, an action we are deeply suspicious of and which we do not support or condone. Our City Museum has been permitted to retain Keepers of both Human and Natural Heritage. One wonders for how much longer!
The perception that the City Council has only a very short-sighted attitude and lacks any vision whatsoever, has been borne out by the subsequent planning decisions to bury major historical features beneath office block "developments" and to encourage business park "developments" in areas where our bone caves are situated. This short-sighted rush for returns of "quick money" into the City's Treasury has often been to the total detriment of our karst and speleological heritage. The Cattedown area in particular, has suffered and continues to suffer very badly in this respect. If only our political administrators had the common sense and vision to perceive that these natural treasures could actually reap far more money for their Treasury via tourism, than all the office and business parks put together. However, for over half a century, "vision" is a concept that has been characteristically missing from our City's political "leaders" and their contemporary bureaucracies, whatever the colour of their ideals. The future of our City's karst and speleological heritage is certainly not bright unless there is a 180 degree change in both the attitude and philosophy of our City Fathers.

The individual Home Pages for the Oreston Bone Caves and the Stonehouse Bone Caves in Plymouth are currently in preparation. These will be gradually brought online over the course of the next year.
The Cattedown Bone Cave Section is online and fully available. This location has been re-activated as a current Project and in that regard, will be continually subject to updating.

LINKS TO THE HOMEPAGES OF SPECIFIC BONE CAVE LOCATIONS IN PLYMOUTH AND DISTRICT :
Click on this Link to access the  Cattedown Bone Caves Homepage.

Click on this Link to access the  Oreston Bone Caves Homepage. (Inactive - under construction)

Click on this Link to access the  Stonehouse Bone Caves Homepage.

Click on this Link to access the  Turnchapel Bone Cave Homepage.


more to follow


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