Darfar Ridge Cave to the south-east of Wetton Mill, Hamps & Manifold Valleys

Record ID:  60064 / MNA164227
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: None Recorded
NT Property:  Hamps and Manifold Valleys; Midlands
Civil Parish:  Wetton; Staffordshire Moorlands; Staffordshire
Grid Reference:  SK 0984 5578
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Summary

A solution fissure in horizontally bedded reef limestone situated on the crest of a spur which is part of Darfur Bank. There are two entrances, and was excavated during the 1960s and 1970s.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • CAVE (Upper Palaeolithic to Roman - 40000 BC to 409 AD)
  • FLINT SCATTER (Late Neolithic - 3000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • ROCK ART (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)

Description

(1) Darfur Ridge Cave is a solution fissure in horizontally bedded reef limestone situated on the crest of a spur which is part of Darfur Bank, Ecton Hill. There are two main entrances. The cave was excavated in 1960 and 1961 by the Rolls-Royce Caving and Archaeological Club. The platform outside the cave was dug and a probably Pleistocene (or immediately post Pleistocene) layer has been found at a depth of approximately 1 metre. A Neolithic flint arrowhead 3.8cm and a mesolithic microlith were found. Bone finds included human, reindeer, bison, ptarmigan, & lemming. Further excavations (up to 1974) recovered human and animal remains, a thumb scraper, a leaf shaped arrowhead, and a microlith. Later finds included a Medieval or Roman iron knife and a few Romano-British sherds including three 4th century pieces.

(2) Palaeolithic caves and rock shelters provide some of the earliest evidence of human activity in the period from about 400,000 to 10,000 years ago. The sites, all natural topographic features occur mainly in hard limestone in the North and West of the country, although examples also exist in the softer rocks of South-East England. Evidence for human occupation is often located near the cave entrances, close to the rock walls or on the exterior platforms. The interiors sometimes served as special areas for disposal and storage or were places where material naturally accumulated from the outside. Because of the special conditions of deposition and preservation, organic and other fragile materials often survive well and in stratigraphic association. Caves and rock shelters are therefore of major importance for understanding this period. Due to their comparative rarity their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all examples with good survival of deposits, are considered to be nationally important.

(3) In September 2016 Anne Teather and Andrew Chamberlain from the University of Manchester visited Darfar Ridge Cave (as well as Fox Hole Cave - NTSMR 60169) to assess some reported rock art. The art at Darfar Ridge consists of sets of incised lines that seem to intersect in a cross. One edge of this art has lines converging to a point with a possible further incised line crossing this at right angles about 2cm to the right of the convergance point. The art is located on the underside of a vertical recess and positioned close to an area where two passages meet. It was confirmed that the lines appear to be deiberate in their execution and shows similarities to other recorded Neolithic art from flint mines and elsewhere. The cross-hatched design at Darfar Ridge Cave could be termed a double cross; double crosses have been noted at the No 2 Escarpment Shaft, Cissbury flint mine (Teather, 2016) and also at Long Hole cave in Somerset. The human remains from Darfar Ridge Cave have not been subject to radiocarbon dating but finds of Neolithic flint tools in this cave are an indicator that the art may also date to that period (source: SNA67357)"

References

  • SNA67036 - Report: Martin Milner (Derbyshire Caving Association). 2005. A Cave and Mine Conservation Audit for the Manifold and Hamps Valleys.

  • SNA67357 - Document: Anne Teather and Andrew Chamberlain. 2018. A report on Rock Art present in Fox Hole Cave and Darfar Ridge Cave.

  • SZE10209 - Unpublished document: Frank Oulsnam. 1994. The National Trust South Peak Estate Manifold Valley Cave Survey, Maps plus SMR Numbers, List of Cav.

  • SZE20086 - Photograph - black and white: 23/06/1989. Cave BF Entrance, Looking NE, Manifold Valley Cave Survey. 2.

  • SZE20087 - Photograph - black and white: 23/06/1989. Cave BF Entrance, Looking NE, Manifold Valley Cave Survey. 3.

  • SZE2177 - Document: Frank Oulsnam. 1992. Information for Archaeological Survey Update, of South Peak Estate.

  • SZE2398 - Collection: Alison MacDonald. 1996. Concordance of Manifold Valley Cave Survey Names Given by the Warden and TPAT.

  • SZE2709 - Article in serial: S Nicholson. 1966. Second Report on the Excavation of Darfur Ridge Cave. 21.

  • SZE2823 - Collection: National Trust. The National Trust Archaeological Survey Sites and Monuments Record Data Prinouts - Hamps & Manifold.

  • SZE3112 - Collection: National Trust. The National Trust Sites and Monuments Record Data Input Forms - Hamps & Manifold Valley, South Peak.

  • SZE3253 - Unpublished document: Beamish, H. & Smith, L. (National Trust). 1985. National Trust Archaeological Survey: The South Peak Estate. p.56-57.

  • SZE34399 - Photograph - black and white: 23/06/1989. Cave BF Entrance, Looking NE, Manifold Valley Cave Survey. 1.

  • SZE35533 - Photograph - black and white: 23/06/1989. Cave BF Entrance, Looking S, Manifold Valley Cave Survey. 4.

  • SZE43648 - Photograph - black and white: 08/06/1989. Cave BF Entrance, Looking N, Manifold Valley Cave Survey. 9.

  • SZE5185 - Collection: Frank Oulsnam, C J Shaw. 1989-1994. Manifold Valley Caves Survey, South Peak Estate, Recording Forms.

  • SZE6557 - Unpublished document: Frank Oulsnam. 1994. The National Trust South Peak Estate, Manifold Cave Monitoring, Wardens Working Guide to Cave Sites.

  • SZE9592 - Document: Michael G Tommony. 1994. A Study of Neolithic and Bronze Age Cave Use in the Manifold Valley, Staffordshire - A Dissertation .

  • SZE9616 - Unpublished document: Trent and Peak Archaeological Trust, RCHME. 1989-1992. Manifold Valley, Staffordshire, Cave Survey 1989-1992.

Designations

None Recorded

Other Statuses and References

  • National Monuments Record Reference: SK05NE20
  • National Park
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest (Biological)

Associated Events

  • ENA1064 - Archaeological Intervention, Formal excavation Darfur Ridge Cave, Hamps & Manifold Valleys (Ref: 3423)
  • ENA1065 - Field Survey, Cave Survey, Manifold Valley, Hamps & Manifold Valleys
  • ENA8462 - Field Survey, NT Archaeological Survey of the Hamps & Manifold Valleys
  • ENA8550 - Heritage Assessment, Cave and Mine Conservation Audit of the Manifold and Hamps Valleys

Associated Finds

None Recorded

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