Oxa

Early Bronze Age

(Currant and Jacobi 2001) and a small number of either Mousterian or Early Upper Palaeolithic stone artefacts (Campbell 1977).

To the north of Creswell Crags Pleistocene faunal remains were recovered from a limestone quarry at Steetley, 5 km west of Worksop, and recently some of this material has been dated using the Uranium-series method to the early Devensian period (Pike et al. 2005). Further finds of late Upper Palaeolithic material were made at Lob Wells Shelter and at Dead Man's Cave in Anston Stones Wood (Jenkinson and Gwynne-Griffiths 1986). Both of these sites, which were excavated by George White with the assistance of Paul Mellars, contained Late Upper Palaeolithic flint tools, and Late Glacial faunal remains were also recovered from Dead Man's Cave (Mellars 1969). Paul Mellars also excavated Creswellian flint artefacts from a disturbed surface deposit below the scarp of the Crags in Edlington Wood, and inferred that the artefacts may be derived from a nearby cave or rockshelter (Mellars 1973). In the Roche Valley possible Upper Palaeolithic and Neolithic flint artefacts have been reported from excavations carried out by the Rotherham Archaeological Society between 1977 and 1981 in a rockshelter at Stone Mill (Dolby 2001), and possible Mesolithic flints were also found in a rockshelter in Nor Wood, excavated by Radley in 1968.

South-west of Conisbrough near Hooton Roberts the Magnesian Limestone is exposed in a natural scarp edge at Hooton Cliff, which contains rockshelters, slip-rift caves, and sediment-filled fissures with considerable archaeological potential. Late Upper Palaeolithic flint tools were collected from the parish of Hooton Roberts by the Revd Reginald Gatty in the nineteenth century (Radley 1964), and although the precise localities of Gatty's finds were not recorded it is possible that some may have come from the rockshelter sites along Hooton Cliff.

Extensive exposures of Magnesian Limestone can be seen along the south side of the Don Gorge between Conisbrough and Warmsworth, though this area has been heavily quarried in the past for lime burning. In 1878, during construction of a water pipeline in Nearcliff Wood, a sediment-filled fissure containing Pleistocene mammal bones was discovered and specimens were sent to William Boyd Dawkins for identification. The identified species included woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis), mammoth (Mam-muthus primigenius), horse (Equus ferus), and red deer (Cervus elaphus), with some bones showing evidence of gnawing by hyenas (Anon. 1878). Nearly thirty years later further Pleistocene mammal remains were reported from approximately the same location, during the construction of the Dearn Valley Railway (Corbett 1906).

The overall picture gleaned from this brief survey is that a fairly continuous spread of archaeological cave sites exists across the southern Magnesian Limestone outcrop, and that the Palaeolithic is unusually well represented in this landscape. Apart from at Creswell Crags, the scale of archaeological exploration of these cave sites has been limited, especially in comparison with other cave regions in Britain such as the Carboniferous Limestone outcrops of the White Peak and of Mendip in Somerset. It is therefore very likely that continued research on the Magnesian Limestone will enable additional cave archaeological sites to be identified and will help to elucidate the changing patterns of cave usage through time.

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