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Aveline's Hole
Aveline's Hole
Location Burrington Combe
Depth 16m
Length 67m
Discovery 1797
Geology Limestone

Aveline's Hole is a cave at Burrington Combe in the limestone of the Mendip Hills, in Somerset, England.

Aveline's Hole

The earliest scientifically dated cemetery in Britain was found at Aveline's Hole. The human bone fragments it contained, from about 21 different individuals, are thought to be between roughly 10,200 and 10,400 years old.[1]

A series of inscribed crosses found on the wall of the Aveline's Hole cave are believed to date from the early Mesolithic period just after the Ice Age.[2] The pattern is said to be comparable with others known from Northern France, Germany and Denmark." A gate has been installed in the cave to protect the engraving, after consultations between English Heritage and other interested parties, including the landowner and English Nature.

The cave was rediscovered in 1797 by two men digging for a rabbit.[3] The cave was excavated and the entrance enlarged in 1860 by William Boyd Dawkins who named it after his mentor William Talbot Aveline.[4]

Access to the cave is controlled by the University of Bristol Spelæological Society and access is restricted during the bat hibernation season.


  1. ^ "Earliest British cemetery dated". BBC. 2003-09-23. Retrieved 5 January 2010.  
  2. ^ "Aveline's Hole Discovery". University of Bristol Spelaeological Society. Retrieved 5 January 2010.  
  3. ^ Johnson, Peter (1967). The History of Mendip Caving. Newton Abbot: David & Charles.  
  4. ^ Witcombe, Richard (2009). Who was Aveline anyway?: Mendip's Cave Names Explained (2nd ed.). Priddy: Wessex Cave Club. pp. 10-11. ISBN 978-0950043364.  

See also



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