Pembroke Castle Built on Prehistoric Butchers Shop!

Archaeologists have made an extraordinary discovery in a cave beneath Pembroke Castle in southwest Wales. They have unearthed rare evidence of prehistoric humans that dates back to the last Ice Age.

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The ongoing excavations at Wogan Cavern have revealed a treasure trove of artifacts. This makes it one of the most significant archaeological caves in Britain.

The Cave

Wogan Cave
Wogan Cave beneath the castle is offering some amazing finds.Photo credit: R. Dinnis

The entrance to the cave was sealed off around 800 years ago with a built wall, but it remains accessible through a spiral stairway from the castle above. While it served as a storeroom during the Middle Ages, the artifacts found in the cave indicate its use throughout the Roman period.

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However, the most fascinating aspect is the strong evidence pointing to its occupation by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. This occurred during the middle of the last Ice Age.

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Although no human skeletons have been discovered yet, analysis of stone tools found during the 2022 excavation confirms that they were crafted by some of the earliest Homo sapiens to arrive in Britain.

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Lets Have a Butchers

In addition to the tools, archaeologists have also uncovered the bones of reindeer, wild horses, and woolly mammoths. This suggests that the cave was likely a prehistoric butcher shop and dining area. Given the size of the cave, this recent discovery could just be the beginning of a wealth of findings.

Wogan Cave had been bricked up for many years.

The arrival and lifestyle of Homo sapiens in Britain, as well as the history of Neanderthals in the region, remain poorly understood, making this cave excavation of immense importance.

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Further excavations are planned at Wogan Cavern in the summer of 2023, with hopes of answering key questions about this pivotal period in human history. The site holds great potential for shedding light on when Homo sapiens first arrived in Britain, their origins, and how they adapted to the Ice Age environment.

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Dr. Rob Dinnis, an archaeologist from the University of Aberdeen and co-leader of the project, expressed excitement about the site and the opportunity to use modern archaeological methods to gain deeper insights.

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Wogan Cavern has already proven to be an exceptional site, yielding remarkable finds despite limited excavation thus far. As the project progresses, there is anticipation of uncovering even earlier evidence of occupation, potentially by Neanderthals.

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The vast possibilities that lie within this cave make it an intriguing and promising site for unravelling the mysteries of ancient human presence in Britain.


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