Friday, 13 August 2010

Inside the Cave

The excavation is hidden among dense woods
on the steep side of a Somerset gorge.

You walk down the narrowest of paths,
being careful not to trip on tree roots,
and find the cave sheltered with blue tarpaulin.

There are six people working in the cave
removing breccia from the walls and floor
which is coarsely filtered
and then stored for fine sieving in the laboratory.

In the first year they found very little
because they were working
at the surface in the modern deposits.

Four years later,
the excavations are revealing evidence of animals
that lived in this gorge after the last Ice Age.

Yesterday they found this reindeer bone
which has been gnawed by a wolf.
If you look carefully you can see
the puncture marks from the canine teeth.

It is really exciting to imagine
what might be in the lower layers of the cave:
woolly rhino, woolly mammoth
or even evidence of Neanderthal occupation.

It made me wish that I had studied Geography.

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