Illuminating Lesser Garth Cave, Cardiff: the human\ud remains and post-Roman archaeology in context

Article English OPEN
Madgwick, Richard ; Redknap, Mark ; Davies, Brian (2016)
  • Publisher: Cambrian Archaeological Society
  • Subject: CC
    mesheuropmc: humanities | social sciences

During a series of relatively poorly documented excavations carried out during 1912–14 and\ud 1963–64 human bone was recovered from Lesser Garth Cave near Cardiff. Published reports of the\ud cave investigations focused on the artefactual evidence, and the wide range of possible dates and\ud interpretations concerning the human bones have failed to provide a reliable basis for understanding\ud the significance of the remains within the cave’s biography. This paper presents new scientific evidence\ud regarding the human remains including findings from full osteological analysis, targeted carbon,\ud nitrogen, oxygen and strontium isotope analysis and a programme of radiocarbon dating. Analysis\ud records seven individuals, with a minimum of five if the fifty-year excavation gap is ignored. The\ud radiocarbon dates suggest intermittent human presence in the cave from the post-Roman to the postmedieval\ud periods. The paper also offers a reappraisal of post-Roman artefacts, and re-assessment of\ud this site in the context of the diverse ways in which caves are now understood to have been used during\ud this period.
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