A cave in the Mendip Hills in southwest England has been revealed as the earliest scientifically dated cemetery in Britain.
The age of the cemetery makes it an important European site
The site at Aveline's Hole, near Burrington Combe, contained human bone fragments that have now been confirmed to be between roughly 10,200 and 10,400 years old.
Not strictly about Aveline's Hole, but about another cave also in Burrington Combe:
[...the cave] locally known by the name of Goatchurch. Like all the other large caverns in the district, it has its legends. The dwellers in the neighbourhood, who have never cared to explore its recesses, will tell you that a certain dog, put in here, found its way out after many days at Wookey Hole, having lost all its hair in scrambling through the narrow passages. At Cheddar the same legend is appropriated to the Cheddar cave. At Wookey the dog is said to have travelled back to Cheddar.
'Cave Hunting' by W Boyd Dawkins, Macmillan's Magazine, October 1870.
In 2003 some scratches were found in Goatchurch Cavern. You can see a photo at the fascinating Apotropaios website. It's been suggested that they're 'ritual protection marks' and an invocation to the Virgin Mary - maybe to do with the fact that the local caves were seen to be entrances to Unpleasantness and to be avoided.
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. Also note that no visits will be possible until bat hibernation season is over.
Experts have just declared Aveline's Hole to be "Britains oldest cemetery". a study of over 800 bone fragments found about 100 years ago have revealed that they are about 10,400 years old. Included amongst the bones is one that show signs of osteoarthritis, the oldest case on record.
This obvious cave, just up the road from "The Rock Of Ages" was found in 1797 by two men following a rabbit. A small excavation found several human skeletons inside placed on the cave floor. In 1919-27 the University of Bristol Speleological Society more or less cleared the cave and found that the deposits dated from the Late Paleolithic (Cresswellian).