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HER Number:MDV9018
Name:Pixies' Hole Cave at Chudleigh Rocks

Summary

Pixies' Hole Cave at Chudleigh Rocks was occupied during the Upper Palaeolithic

Location

Grid Reference:SX 865 786
Map Sheet:SX87NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishChudleigh
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishCHUDLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 446676
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX87NE/30
  • Old SAM Ref: 10719
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX87NE29

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAVE (Upper Palaeolithic - 38000 BC to 8001 BC (Between))

Full description

Fleming, W., 1824, Remarks Illustrative of the Influence of Society in the Distribution of British Animals, 287-305 (Article in Serial). SDV346764.


Pengelly, W., 1878, The Literature of Kent's Cavern, Part 4, 167 (Article in Serial). SDV346763.


Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Pixies' Hole' shown on 19th century map at Chudleigh Rocks.


Pengelly, W., 1886, Notes on Notices of the Geology and Palaeontology of Devonshire, Part 13, 508-9 (Article in Serial). SDV346761.

Pixies' Hole, Chudleigh. Cave yielded remains of hyena, deer and bear. Presence of human bone not proven.


Shaw, T. R., 1949, The Caves at Chudleigh, 341-5 (Article in Serial). SDV346808.

Pixie's Hole was first mentioned in the 17th century. The total passage length is 265 metres and includes 'The Pope's Head Chamber', 'The Pixie's Parlour', 'The Belfry', The Grotto' and 'The Bone Chamber' in the highest part of the cave.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SX87NE29 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV346767.


Jacobi, R. M., 1979, Early Flandrian Hunters in the South-West (Article in Serial). SDV117514.

Other details: Figure 1.


Roberts, A., 1985, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV346762.

Cave re-evaluated in S Collcutt's Oxford's D Phil thesis.


Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/GU, 1-2, 5-7 (Aerial Photograph). SDV338019.


Griffith, F. M., 1987, DAP/IB, 10-15 (Aerial Photograph). SDV312427.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, DAP/JQ, 10-12 (Aerial Photograph). SDV346766.


Griffith, F. M., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 20 (Monograph). SDV64198.


Pye, A., 1992, Environmental statement on the proposed extension of the Heathfield landfill site, Kingsteignton. Appendix 4: archaeological assessment, 13 (Report - Assessment). SDV312426.


Department of National Heritage, 1992, Pixie's Hole, Chudleigh Rocks (Schedule Document). SDV308779.

The cave of Pixie's Hole is situated on the north side of the Kate Brook Valley, about 65 metres east of Cow Cave. The cave lies about 27 metres above the valley floor and its eastern section comprises a long passage which connects with other chambers and passages of the rift system and may provide a connection with the nearby Cow Cave. The eastern passage of Pixie's Hole extends from the entrance and slopes gently inwards towards the Pope's Chamber, a distance of about 30 metres. Investigations of the cave were undertaken in the 19th century but proved inconclusive. New excavations conducted by Collcutt in 1976-8, about 10 metres in from the entrance, produced a rich concentration of Late Upper Palaeolithic artefacts and animal bones associated with a hearth and all stratified beneath a stalagmite floor. The area in front of the entrance has been heavily affected by quarrying and it is not known whether any archaeological deposits survive. The monument includes the whole of the eastern passage and its contained deposits from the cave mouth to the Pope's Chamber. 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. Pixie's Hole provides a very rare example of an Upper Palaeolithic `living floor'. The site is one of three caves in the valley known to contain significant Palaeolithic deposits. Although partly excavated the cave retains considerable potential for the preservation of archaeological and environmental evidence. Other details:
Monument 10719.


Barton, R. M. E. + Roberts, A. J., 1996, Reviewing the British Late Upper Palaeolithic, 245-265 (Article in Serial). SDV312419.

Excavated by Collcutt from 1977-78, this cave shows a homogenous collection of lithic artefacts and the remains of a red deer skeleton near the top of the cave beneath a stalagmite floor. An in situ hearth dated to 11,870 BP made of baked stones and flecks of charcoal yielded a range of flint tools, mostly thick, short end scrapers.


Exeter Archaeology, 2003, Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Development at 6 The Square, Chudleigh, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV338022.


National Monuments Record, 2011, 446676 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346768.

One of a number of small caves, shelters and fissures at Chudleigh Rock. Early visitors to Pixie's Hole included MacEnery, Acland and Buckland. Investigations by Buckland in 1823 uncovered animal remains beneath a stalagmite layer, while in another part of the cave was a "British kitchen" containing charcoal, pottery, and flint implements. Details of early investigations were collected and publsihed by Pengelly in 1873. Further exploration occurred in 1947-8, when burnt animal bones and a fragment of a possible Roman bone pin were among the finds. The most recent excavations were undertaken by S N Collcutt between 1976 and 1979. An undisturbed "living floor" was found circa 12 metres in from the entrance, and included a rudimentary hearth, around which were some flint artefacts. The fact that some refitting was possible highlights the undisturbed nature of the deposit. Further into the cave, additional artefacts were present, but had been disturbed by a later debris flow. Flints recovered during the excavtion number circa 400, including backed points, burins, scrapers, borers and other retouched pieces. Also present was a 'pendant' - a smooth pebble pierced near one end. None of the animal remains carries clear evidence of human interference. The artefacts are broadly assigned to the Later Upper Palaeolithic, and probably represent relatively short term occupation by a small number of people, probably during the summer months.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

'Pixies Hole' shown on modern mapping at Chudleigh Rocks.


Newberry, J., 2013, Lateglacial Devon, Including Recent Evidence from Broad Down, 5, 6-7 (Article in Serial). SDV358048.

Both organic and lithic evidence from Pixie's Hole suggests human activity in the early Creswellian and again, about a thousand years later in the Final Palaeolithic. Later Palaeolithic Creswellian, or Final Magdelenian activity is evidenced at Pixie's Hole by the find of a cut-marked horse bone dated 12,585 +/- 60BP and a Final Palaeolithic date of 11,630 +/- 120BP was obtained from a cut aurochs bone. Excavations in 1986 revealed a rudimentary hearth with flint artefacts including four backed points, burins, scrapers and borers which was dated to the Creswellian period.
However, the inclusion of two curve-backed points which typically belong to the Final Palaeolithic Industry along with two possible Creswellian points suggests a possible overlap between the Creswellian and Final Palaeolithic technologies.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV117514Article in Serial: Jacobi, R. M.. 1979. Early Flandrian Hunters in the South-West. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 37. A5 Paperback.
SDV308779Schedule Document: Department of National Heritage. 1992. Pixie's Hole, Chudleigh Rocks. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled. [Mapped feature: #109188 ]
SDV312419Article in Serial: Barton, R. M. E. + Roberts, A. J.. 1996. Reviewing the British Late Upper Palaeolithic. Oxford Journal of Archaeology. 15 (3). A4 Stapled + Digital. 245-265.
SDV312426Report - Assessment: Pye, A.. 1992. Environmental statement on the proposed extension of the Heathfield landfill site, Kingsteignton. Appendix 4: archaeological assessment. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 92.14. A4 Stapled + Digital. 13.
SDV312427Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1987. DAP/IB. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 10-15.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338019Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/GU. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1-2, 5-7.
SDV338022Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2003. Archaeological Assessment of Proposed Development at 6 The Square, Chudleigh. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.69. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV346761Article in Serial: Pengelly, W.. 1886. Notes on Notices of the Geology and Palaeontology of Devonshire, Part 13. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 18. A5 Hardback. 508-9.
SDV346762Personal Comment: Roberts, A.. 1985.
SDV346763Article in Serial: Pengelly, W.. 1878. The Literature of Kent's Cavern, Part 4. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 10. A5 Hardback. 167.
SDV346764Article in Serial: Fleming, W.. 1824. Remarks Illustrative of the Influence of Society in the Distribution of British Animals. Edinburgh Philosophical Journal. 9. Unknown. 287-305.
SDV346766Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. DAP/JQ. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 10-12.
SDV346767Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SX87NE29. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV346768National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 446676. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV346808Article in Serial: Shaw, T. R.. 1949. The Caves at Chudleigh. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 81. A5 Hardback. 341-5.
SDV358048Article in Serial: Newberry, J.. 2013. Lateglacial Devon, Including Recent Evidence from Broad Down. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 71. Paperback Volume. 5, 6-7.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 20.

Associated Monuments

MDV8997Related to: Chudleigh Cavern at Chudleigh Rocks (Monument)
MDV14724Related to: Cow Cave at Chudleigh Rocks (Monument)
MDV14725Related to: Tramp's Shelter at Chudleigh Rocks (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1790 - SCRAPER (TOOL) (Upper Palaeolithic - 38000 BC to 8001 BC)

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Oct 25 2018 4:05PM