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Cau Ailosod

LYNX CAVE, BRYN ALYN

Manylion y Safle

© Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 418688

Cyfeirnod Map SJ15NE

Cyfeirnod Grid SJ19765931

Awdurdod Lleol Sir Ddinbych 

Hen Sir Dinbych

Cymuned Llanarmon-yn-ial

Math o Safle OGOF

Cyfnod Yr Oes Efydd, Palaeolithig

Disgrifiad o´r Safle Lynx Cave is situated in the foothills of Mold, at the base of a small limestone outcrop on the southern flank of Pot-Hole Valley, between the twin peaks of Bryn Alyn. The cave, typical of all the currently known caves in the vicinity, is so named due to the discovery of a lynx mandible in the early stages of excavation. Excavation began in 1962 and continues to the present day. To date it has revealed human remains and artefacts dating from the Romano-British and Bronze Age, in addition to evidence from the late Palaeolithic.

The cave measures 14m in length, and its small entrance is accessed from a steep grass bank. This leads to a tight passage, measuring 55cm width x 27cm height at its narrowest point. The passage continues for 3m on a gentle incline, after which the roof rises sharply, although its breadth is still narrow. Halfway along the total length of the cave, the roof drops again to only 25cms. The passage leads to a small chamber slightly wider than the rest of the cave. The last 2m consists of a dry narrow passage (raised above the deposits of the main cave) that ends in a tight vertical shaft which rises some 3.5m into the cave roof. A survey of the cave floor prior to excavation revealed a series of undulations that were far more pronounced than the surface normally found in caves. The cave floor was found to have been considerably disturbed on a number of seperate occasions, by both humans and badgers. This had resulted in the mixing up of deposits, including the deposition of late Upper Palaeolithic artefacts to within a few cm of the floor surface. A total of 21 human bones, representing at least eight humans, were recovered. All had, at some point, been gnawed by a large carnivore.

Arctic lemming bones identified would have derived from a Pleistocene landscape. The cave is thought to have been used for shelter by upper Palaeolithic hunters, with a number of stone and bone tools, including a fluted bone spear point and antler spear point, dating to this time. The butchered bones of red deer and reindeer (with radiocarbon dates of 11000-12000BP) also date to this period of human activity. Three hearths, positioned against the west wall of the passage, are thought to also date to this time. Mammal bones identified include lynx, deer, aurochs, ox, badger, elk, red fox, wolf, sheep, goat, dog, cat, weasel, mountain hare, rabbit, pig, vole, wood mouse, shrew, grouse, dunnock, starling, crow, song thrush, robin, blackbird, crow, frog and toad. A butchered black stork bone produced a radiocarbon date of 2945 BP. During the Bronze Age a wall was erected against the burial chamber, adjacent to the dry, narrow passage. A capstone was placed on end on top of a soil mound to seal the opening. The human remains are thought to have been interred over a period of time, with the capstone being a removable feature. A complete horse tibia, thought to data to the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age, appears to have been deliberately placed in a hollow, under a boulder, at the cave entrance. Subsequent disturbance involved tilting the capstone, which was found in a horizontal position. A bronze hair pin may date (stylistically) to the Bronze Age. A shale bracelet is thought to date to somewhere between the Bronze Age and the Romano-British period. An ornate bronze trumpet brooch (noted to have affinities with the Carmarthen Trumpet brooch) has been stylistically dated to 80-150 AD. The most recent find was afragment of clay pipe, thought to date to the nineteenth century.

The site was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument in 1963, but was descheduled in 1988, as it was considered that nothing of archaeological value survived at the site. A small section of archived excavation material is currently housed at the National Museum of Wales, with the remainder held by the recorder for further research. It is expected that the entire collection will be presented to the National Museum of Wales on completion of the excavation. Archaeological research is currently on-going.

Sources include:
Blore, J, 2012, Lynx Cave, Denbighshire: 50 years of Archaeological Excavation
www.lynxcave.webs.com/location.htm

N Vousden, RCAHMW, 26 March 2013

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