Chapel Cave

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Chapel Cave, Malham tarn, artist's reconstruction MYD36729 (c) YDNPA,

Chapel Cave, Malham tarn, artist’s reconstruction MYD36729 (c) YDNPA,

Chapel Cave was excavated by a team of archaeologists from Bradford University over several seasons in the 1990s. The evidence showed that it may have been used as a hunting lookout during the Mesolithic period. The site, set in a limestone scar, is ideally suited for hunters, with its south facing entrance overlooking a narrow stretch of dry land next to the marshy ground at the edge of the Tarn. At this point hunters would be in an ideal position to intercept game moving around the edge of the lake. Trapezoidal microliths used in wooden shafts as arrows dominated in the excavated collection of flint. Poorly preserved animal bone was also found. Identifiable animals included hare, fox, roe deer, badger and a large bird. Fish scales, particularly perch, were also found.

During the excavation, the Bradford University team also found a single perforated bone bead, along with a perforated stone disc. We can only speculate that these were from necklaces.


Donahue, R H & Lovis, W (2000) Yorkshire Dales Hunter-Gatherer Research Project – Interim Report 1999. Bradford: University of Bradford


Chapel Cave is on private land and not accessible to the public.