Deep Time in Kents Cavern: Kents Cavern, Devon, Is Famous throughout the World for Its Wealth of Archaeology and Geology. August 2003 Marks the Centenary of Ownership by Four Generations of the Powe Family. Margaret Powling Investigates the Cave's Prehistoric Past and Looks towards Its Future. (Frontline)

By Powling, Margaret G. | History Today, August 2003 | Go to article overview

Deep Time in Kents Cavern: Kents Cavern, Devon, Is Famous throughout the World for Its Wealth of Archaeology and Geology. August 2003 Marks the Centenary of Ownership by Four Generations of the Powe Family. Margaret Powling Investigates the Cave's Prehistoric Past and Looks towards Its Future. (Frontline)


Powling, Margaret G., History Today


A LARGE SOLUTION CAVE within a limestone rift system, Kents Cavern, on the west side of Lincombe Hill, Torquay, is a natural treasure chest of forgotten remains and one of Europe's most important ancient sites. Implements found there include some that date back almost half a million years, and many flints associated with the Neathderthals, while a human jawbone uncovered in 1927 is 31,000 years old, providing the oldest evidence of modern man (Homo sapiens) in northwest Europe.

According to the Devon-born historian W.G. Hoskins (1908-92), 'In Kents Cavern ... we have the oldest recognisable human dwellings in Britain. Here Neanderthal man sought a winter refuge from the cold of the last Ice Age, and here have been found a quantity of Mousterian implements deposited round about a hundred thousand years ago.'

By the eighteenth century, Kents Hole, as it was then known, had acquired something of a local reputation for mystery: it was a place where bones and pieces of pottery could occasionally be found. The brave and the curious crawled in through the dark passages, some leaving graffiti as evidence of their visit. But increasingly people came for scientific reasons and from the 1820s Kents Cavern was seen by some as providing evidence that man could have existed for longer than the 6,000 years implied by the Bible.

The first excavators were amateur enthusiasts and collectors, such as Father John McEnery, who had come to Torquay from Ireland in 1822. He recovered a large collection of artefacts from the cave including skulls of cave bears and the remains of hyenas and wolves. On a visit to Torquay, future prime minister William Gladstone met Father John, noting in his diary of September 19th, 1832, 'Spent some hours at Kents Cavern ... in digging and hammering ... and we brought home some specimens.'

Around this time a young teacher William Pengelly (1812-94) moved to Torquay from East Looe, Cornwall, where he set up a private school. His interest in natural history made the cave a focus of fascination. In March 1865 he began excavations with the approval of the Cave's then owner, Lord Haldon. A grant was awarded by the British Association to help pay for the work.

During the next fifteen years Pengelly removed more than 80,000 different objects from the cave, carefully identifying each one by a special code number. Animal bones and flint tools were sent by Pengelly to museums and collectors around the world, but by far the greatest number was kept at Torquay's new Natural History Museum (now Torquay Museum), which he also funded (by the 1860s he was being employed to teach the children of several European royal families). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Deep Time in Kents Cavern: Kents Cavern, Devon, Is Famous throughout the World for Its Wealth of Archaeology and Geology. August 2003 Marks the Centenary of Ownership by Four Generations of the Powe Family. Margaret Powling Investigates the Cave's Prehistoric Past and Looks towards Its Future. (Frontline)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.