Marks of sanctity? Discovery of rock art on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales

Nash, George; van Calsteren, Peter and Thomas, Louise (2011). Marks of sanctity? Discovery of rock art on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales. Time & Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness & Culture, 4(2) pp. 149–154.



Abstract Britain is regarded by some as an Upper Palaeolithic cultural backwater, but this part of northwestern Europe also encountered the ravages of the Devensian with the southern limit of the ice margin extending a few kilometers north of the limestone caves on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales. Following sudden climatic warming, groups of hunter/fisher/gatherers started to utilize this sometimes hostile landscape, seasonally occupying many of the caves that are cut and shaped into the limestone outcropping that frequents the Gower Peninsula. At this time an extensive landmass would have replaced much of the present Bristol Channel (Jacobi 1980). It is indeed a rare occurrence for Pleistocene rock art to be discovered within the British Isles, with only one authenticated discovery made in 2003 at Church Hole Cave at Creswell Crags on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border (Bahn and Pettitt 2009). It is not too fanciful to suggest that in order to secure a successful hunt or merely to revere a spiritual being that metaphysically occupied the rear section of the cave, artists were engraving within its hidden recesses. This short article announces and contextually describes a recent discovery of probable Pleistocene rock art on the Gower Peninsula, South Wales. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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