A quick update on our excavation at Dunald Mill Hole in 2015. Josh worked on the juvenile Romano-British skull from this site for his undergraduate dissertation and was able to show that it probably came from a burial somewhere outside the cave and had been washed in during a flooding event. Di and Simon, the cavers who found the skull in the first place, and Jim and I, who supervised the dissertation, have all chipped in our contributions and the final report on the work was published this week in the journal Cave and Karst Science. I’ve added it to the reading list but all the salient points are in the abstract which I’ve reproduced below.
Di excavating at the end of Pearl Passage, Dunald Mill Hole in 2015.
A partial juvenile human cranium was discovered during exploration of Pearl Passage in Dunald Mill Hole in late 2014 by one of the authors (DA). Radiocarbon dating established that the individual died between AD 5 and AD 225. Further excavation of the deposits within the terminal chamber of the passage recovered a small assemblage of other fragments and some faunal remains. The human remains are likely to all belong to the same individual, aged between 3 and 6 years old at death, and to have been moved into the passage by flooding of the cave’s streamway. It is likely that the bones were eroded from further upstream rather than being deliberately deposited in the chamber where they were discovered.