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On January 17th, 1871, the workmen finally and gladly emerged from the labyrinth of low narrow passages in which they had been engaged from day to day from November 13th, 1869, or upwards of 14 months. In this time they had not only excavated and taken to the day the deposits, to the depth of 5 feet, in all the extensive and ramifying branches known as the North Sally-port and Smerdon's Passage, and exhumed cartloads of the remains of various animals, including 5900 of their teeth, as well as 20 flint implements and flakes, but, beyond the first Reach of the Sally-port (27 feet long), they had actually discovered the whole of these branches, including three new entrances to the Cavern itself, and had thus added greatly, not only to the extent of Kent's Hole, but to a knowledge of its structure.
The completion of these branches concluded the excavation, to the depth of 4 feet generally, and 5 feet in some instances, below the Stalagmitic Floor, of the whole of the Eastern Division of the Cavern.
The Cavern Entrances.—Before proceeding to a description of the branch which next engaged attention, it may be of service to devote a few words to the Entrances of the Cavern, of which there are now known to be five (two at a high and three at a low level), all in the eastern side of the hill, and within a horizontal distance of 53 feet. Those at the high-level (known from time immemorial) are about 53 feet apart, almost exactly on the same level, and about 189 feet above mean tide. The most northerly of them is that invariably spoken of in all early descriptions of the Cavern as “ The Entrance.” Those of the lower series are also at very nearly the same level with one another, but from 18 to 20 feet below the former two. Being lower in the sloping hill-side, they are about 24 feet outside or east of the vertical plane passing through the higher entrances. The most southerly ones in the two series are nearly in the same east and west vertical plane.
In order to distinguish them, they are respectively termed :
1. “The Entrance,”=the more northerly of the upper series, and, from its form, sometimes termed the “Triangular Entrance.” It opens into the “ Vestibule.”
2. The “ Arched Entrance,"=the more southerly of the upper series. It opens into the “ Great Chamber.”
3. The “ First Low-level Entrance,"=the middle one of the lower series the first discovered. It opens into the “ North Sally-port" and the “ First Reach of Smerdon's Passage.”
4. The “ Second Low-level Entrance,"=the most northerly of the lower series—the second discovered. It opens into the “Second Reach of Smerdon's Passage."
5. The “Oven Entrance," =the most southerly of the lower series—the last discovered. It opens into the “North Sally-port."
The Sloping Chamber.—That branch of the Cavern termed the “Sloping Chamber" by Mr. M‘Enery was, prior to the Committee's exploration of the “Great Chamber," the largest apartment in it, and is still, perhaps, more calculated than any other to impress visitors. It is the only connexion of the two great divisions of the Cavern, and measures 80 feet from east to west, 25 in greatest breadth, and, since the excavation of its deposits to the depth of 4 feet below the base of the Stalagmitic Floor, 25 in greatest height. Its name was derived from its floor, which, from 20 feet from its eastern side, sloped rapidly towards its western side, falling as much as 14 feet in 60, or at an average angle of 130.5. Its ceiling sloped more rapidly still, being, as already stated, 25 feet high near the eastern wall, but not more than 6 feet at the western. This ceiling, though representing the
dip of the limestone strata in a general way, is extremely rugged,-here retreating into deep cavities whence huge masses of limestone have fallen, and there ornamented with numerous and heavy masses of Stalactite. Indeed the finest Stalactites in the Cavern occur in it; and one known as the “Chandelier” has always been much admired. A very strong light is required, however, to bring out all the features of the ceiling.
During the autumn of 1866, the upper, or eastern, or level portion of this Chamber was explored, and the results were described in the Third Report (Dundee, 1867). Mr. M Enery, too, had made extensive, no doubt his most extensive, diggings near the foot of the incline, where he “succeeded in sinking a shaft to the depth of 30 feet at the bottom of the slope, with the view of reaching the original floor ”*, which, however, was not realized. Having broken the floor for his shaft, and finding the work very laborious, he availed himself of the opening thus made to extend his diggings eastward, keeping just beneath the floor, which he left spanning his broken ground like an arch.
As it was obvious that a very considerable amount of deposit still remained intact, it was decided, on the completion of Smerdon's Passage, to resume the excavation, not only in the hope of obtaining some of the palæontological treasures with which, according to Mr. M Enery, the Chamber abounded, but also as a pre-requisite to the exploration of the “Wolf's Den” and the “ Long Arcade,” into which it opened on the north and south respectively.
The uppermost deposit, as in the adjacent parts of the Cavern, was the Black Mould so frequently mentioned in all previous Reports; and as the Chamber was the only capacious apartment near the Entrance, and the only road to the Western Division of the Cavern, which, from some cause, seems to have been more attractive than the Eastern to visitors in, at least, all recent timest, it might have been expected that many comparatively modern objects of interest would have been found in the Mould. In reality, however, such objects were by no means abundant—a fact which may be explicable, perhaps, on the hypothesis that they had been collected by Mr. M'Enery and other early explorers. The only things found in this deposit (which, it may be stated, was of inconsiderable depth) were shells of cockle, limpet, and pecten ; two potsherds--one black and of coarse clay, the other brown, in which the clay was finer; a flint chip and a core of the same material; a spindle-whorl of fine-grained micaceous grit, 1.5 inch in diameter, •5 inch in thickness, and having its external edges rounded off; and a bone awl, 3.7 inches long, .7 inch broad at the butt end, and partially covered with a film of stalagmite.
Beneath the Black Mould came the ordinary floor of granular and laminated stalagmite, in which, as well as in the deposit beneath, the rugged character of the ceiling suggested that a considerable number of large masses of limestone would be found. Their presence in the floor, moreover, was indicated by the nature of its upper surface, which, though a continuous sheet, with one exception to be noticed hereafter, was so very uneven as to induce an early guide to the Cavern to confer on it the appellation of the “ Frozen Billows.” Accordingly, the Floor proved to be, with an excep
* See Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. iii. p. 248 (1869).
† The following fact seems to be confirmatory on this point:-There are in the various branches of the Western Division (sometimes in places of difficult access) numerous initials and dates on the limestone walls and on bosses of stalagmite-some engraved, some smoked, and some merely chalked—while there are extremely few in the Eastern Division.
tion here and there, a brecciated mass composed of large and small pieces of limestone and blocks of the well-known old crystalline stalagmite, all cemented together and covered with a sheet of the cementing material.
Near the upper part of the slope, and on its southern margin, a space about 14 feet long and varying from 3 to 12 feet broad was without any trace of floor, but occupied with large loose pieces of limestone. Elsewhere the sheet was perfectly continuous until reaching the area in which Mr. M'Enery had dug his shaft. The Floor commonly measured from 12 to 30 inches in thickness, but adjacent to the southern wall it was fully 3 feet, and contained few or no stones,
On being broken into small pieces and carefully examined, it was found to contain 2 teeth of Horse, a portion of a jaw, 2 bones, and half of a fractured flint nodule. About 30 feet down the slope, a series of dark parallel lines were observed in the Floor, the uppermost being about 2 inches below the upper surface. On the advance of the work, they proved to be continuous downward, and to have a greater and greater thickness of stalagmite over them. On careful examination, it was found that each represented what for a time had been the upper surface of the Stalagmitic Floor of the Chamber, and was due to the presence of comminuted charcoal and other dark-coloured extraneous matter. Such a "charcoal streak” also occurred, according to Mr. M Enery, in the “ Long Arcade,” within a few feet of the same spot*. The workmen were directed to detach a specimen of the Floor where the streaks were well displayed, and in doing so were so fortunate as to make their fracture at a place where a large cockle-shell lay firmly imbedded in the lowest streak, at a depth of about 8 inches below the surface. Whilst splitting up the Stalagmite on May 16th, 1871, two specimens of well-marked tern-impressions were found in it, about 3 inches below the surface. Nothing of the kind had ever been noticed before.
Below the Stalagmite, as usual, lay the Cave-earth, in which, as was anticipated, pieces of limestone were unusually abundant. Some of them reasured several feet in length and breadth, and were fully 2 feet thick. There were also numerous blocks of the old crystalline stalagmite, measuring in some instances upwards of 4 cubic yards, and not unfrequently projecting from the Cave-earth into the overlying granular floor. Though they were carefully broken up, nothing was found in them.
In that portion of the Cave-earth which was found intact, there occurred, as usual, remains of the ordinary Cave-mammals, including about 550 teeth, which may be apportioned as in the following list :Hyæna.
2 per cent. Horse
1 “ Irish Elk'
Dog (?) only one tooth. It is, perhaps, worthy of remark that though wild animals still frequent Kent's Hole, and there is reason to believe that some of them have in recent times carried in the bones of others on which they preyed, though the Sloping Chamber is near and between the two high-level Entrances, though the Floor was broken up and thus gave the readiest access to the Cave-earth, and though Mr. M‘Enery discontinued his labours upwards of 40 years ago, of which more than 30 were years of quietude in the Cavern, there is in the
* See Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. iii. pp. 236, 261, 262 (1869).
foregoing list not only neither Sheep nor Pig, but neither Badger, Rabbit, Hare, nor Vole, all of which have been found in other branches, in deposits accessible to burrowing animals.
In the Cave-earth there were also found 52 flint implements, flakes, and chips,-3 of them in the first or uppermost foot-level, 16 in the second, 15 in the third, and 18 in the fourth or lowest. Though none of them are equal to the best the Cavern has yielded in previous years, there are some good lanceolate implements amongst them.
No. 3693 is of light brown translucent flint, 1.85 inch in length, .9 inch in greatest breadth, 175 inch in greatest thickness, nearly flat on one side, and carinated on the other. It was found with a few bones in the first footlevel; amongst loose stones, where there was no Stalagmitic Floor over it; hence it may be doubted whether it belongs to the Palæolithic series--a doubt strengthened by the modern aspect of the implement.
No. 3754, of the usual white flint, is 4.2 inches long, .9 inch in greatest breadth, 3 inch in greatest thickness, both longitudinally and transversely concave on one side, has a medial ridge on the other, from which, at about an inch from one end, a second ridge proceeds, and has a thin but uneven edge. It was probably pointed at each end, but has unfortunately been broken at one of them. It was found on March the 6th, 1871, in the second foot-level, with splinters of bone, beneath a Stalagmitic Floor 18 inches thick.
No. 5430, also of white flint, is somewhat irregular in form, but may be termed rudely lanceolate; it is 2.7 inches in length, 1.5 inch in extreme breadth, 3 inch in greatest thickness, slightly concave on one face and irregularly convex on the other. It was found on March 30th, 1871, with 2 teeth of Horse, 1 of Hyæna, and fragments of bone, in the second “footlevel," without any Stalagmitic Floor over it.
No. 3732, a whitish flint, is 2-3 inches long, 1.1 inch in breadth, which is nearly uniform from end to end, slightly concave on one face, convex on the other, on which there are three slight, parallel, longitudinal ridges, sharply truncated at both ends, but primarily thin at the sides. It was found on February 27th, 1871, in the third “ foot-level,” with a tooth of Hyæna and fragments of bone, without any Stalagmitic Floor over it.
No. 5435, a slightly mottled white flint, is 2:1 inches long, 1:1 inch broad, •4 inch in greatest thickness, flat on one face, strongly ridged on the other, abruptly truncated at one end, but thin everywhere else, and retains its width almost to the opposite end, which is bluntly rounded. It was found on 31st March, 1871, with a portion of Deer's jaw and fragments of bone, in the third “foot-level,” beneath a Stalagmitic Floor, 2 feet thick.
No. 3687, a mottled flint with white prevailing, is 2.6 inches long, 1.2 inch in greatest breadth, :3 inch in greatest thickness, broadest near the middle, whence it tapers in both directions, somewhat pointed at one end but not at the other, nearly flat on one face and convex on the other, on which there are two ridges-one subcentral and the other nearly marginal. It was found on February 7th, 1871, in the fourth or lowest foot-level, with 1 tooth of Horse, 1 of Hyæna, and a fragment of bone, without any Stalagmitic Floor over it.
No. 5475 so closely resembles No. 3732, mentioned above, as to need no further description. It was found February 27th, 1871, with 1 tooth of Hyæna and fragments of bone, in the fourth “ foot-level,” but had no Stalagmitic Floor over it.
In this connexion may be mentioned a piece of calcareous spar, which
appears to have been used as a polishing-stone. It was found March 8th, 1871, with 2 teeth of Hyæna, 2 of Horse, 3 of Rhinoceros, gnawed bones, and a flint flake, in the fourth “ foot-level,” having over it a Stalagmitic Floor 18 inches thick. No such specimen had been noticed before.
A piece of burnt bone was found on the 22nd of the same month, with fragments of bone and fæcal matter, in the second " foot-level,” having a Stalagmitic Floor over it.
Mr. M'Enery appears to have excavated beyond the limits of his shaft, not only in an easterly direction, as has been already stated, but also, at least, north and south of it. So far as can be determined, the shaft was first sunk, and the material taken out lodged between it and the western wall of the Chamber, after which he undertook what may be called the adjacent horizontal diggings, and filled up the shaft with a portion of the excavated matter, thereby rendering it impossible to determine the exact site of the shaft itself. He does not appear to have taken outside the Cavern any portion of the deposit in order to ensure its more complete examination; hence it is not probable that all its contents were detected. Indeed, when speaking of his researches in this Chamber, he says, “ It was feared that in the ardour of the first search, facts of importance might have been overlooked. The mass of mould thrown up on the former occasion was therefore a second time turned over and carefully searched, but nothing new was brought to light”*.
This mass the Superintendents decided on taking out of the Cavern, partly to facilitate the excavation of deposits certainly intact beyond, and also because it was thought likely to be lodged on unbroken ground. Though there seemed but little prospect of finding any thing by subjecting it to a third search, such a search was nevertheless made, and did not go unrewarded. The heap, though mainly of Cave-earth, included fragments of the granular Stalagmitic Floor and portions of the Black Mould, and yielded hundreds of bones and portions of bones (one having an artificial hole lined with stalagmitic matter), fragments of antlers, the largest fragment of an Elephant's tusk that the Committee have met with, 143 teeth of Hyæna, 153 of Horse, 45 of Rhinoceros, 27 of Deer, including “ Irish Elk” and Reindeer, 6 of Bear, 5 of Ox, 5 of Sheep, 3 of Elephant, 3 of Wolf, 3 of Dog (?), 2 of Fox, 2 of Pig, and 1 of Lion, a few marine shells, several fragments of black pottery, 4 pieces of stalagmite with fern-impressions, and 13 flint implements and flakes,_all, with one exception, of the prevalent white colour, and two of them decidedly good specimens of the strongly ridged lanceolate forms. In short, the virgin soil, in some parts of the Cavern, has been less productive than was this mass which had been twice carefully searched, but by candle-light only.
As was thought probable, the mass of dislodged materials proved to be lying on ground which had never been broken. Between Mr. M‘Enery's shaft and the west wall of the Chamber there was a space of at least 17 feet; and at 14 feet from the wall the Cave-earth was found to have not only the ordinary granular Stalagmitic Floor overlying it, but to be deposited on another and necessarily an older Floor of the same material, but which, instead of being granular, was made up of prismatic crystals--possessing, in short, the characters both of position and structure of the Old Crystalline Floor found in the “ Lecture Hall” and “ South-west Chamber," and described in the Fourth Report (Norwich, 1868),—a remnant, in situ, of the Floor which had furnished the large blocks of stalagmite found in the Cave
* See Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. iii. p. 289 (1869).