Vaughan Cave beneath Pembroke Castle in southwest Wales has become a focus for archaeologists because of its thousands of years of history. Recent excavations in the cave have led to the discovery of early evidence of prehistoric humans dating back to the last ice age. This may be due to the fact that this cave is one of the most important archaeological caves in Britain.
One of the most interesting artifacts found in the cave are stone tools that were made by some of the earliest Homo sapiens to settle in Britain. Analysis of these tools suggests that the cave was the site of a prehistoric butcher shop and canteen. Bones of reindeer, wild horses and woolly mammoth have also been found here.
The mouth of the cave was blocked by a wall built about 800 years ago, although it is still accessible thanks to the spiral staircase from the castle above. It most likely served as a warehouse during the Middle Ages, and artifacts found in the cave show that it was used throughout the Roman period.
There are many questions about this key period in human history, and the excavation of Vaughan Cave may help answer some of them. Additional excavations are expected for the summer of 2023 to help uncover even more of the mysteries of this amazing cave.
Dr. Rob Dinnis, an archaeologist at the University of Aberdeen and one of the project leaders, said, “Our work has already shown that Vaughan Cave is an extremely important place, but what is most intriguing is how much we found, given how little we excavated. It’s a big cave, and we’ve barely touched the surface.”
Who knows what else we might find in the coming years? Could there be evidence of even earlier settlement by our Neanderthal cousins? Given what we’ve found so far, I certainly don’t rule it out,” Dinnis added.