South Devon caves and their ice-age history (Plymouth Branch)
Wed. 10 April 2024 at 7:30 pm
A talk by Prof. Malcolm Hart, PhD, DSc, FGS, CGeol, CSci.
In parts of South Devon (e.g. Plymouth, Buckfastleigh, Torbay) the Devonian limestones have extensive cave systems. These caves contain a wealth of fossil remains including mammoths, cave bears, hyenas, large sabre-toothed cats as well as early hominins (and their tools). This led William Pengelly to write some of the earliest papers on the ‘Antiquity of Man’ and to develop a chronology for the cave deposits. Kents Cavern is one of the most famous caves. Across Tor Bay, on Berry Head there are caves that are now at sea level containing a marine record of, probably, the last three ice-ages and their associated interglacials.
Considered with finds from Plymouth’s Cattedown Caves and the recent discovery of megafauna at Sherford, South Devon has a near unique record of cave history as will be presented in this lecture.