Cave people coming to Cheddar for 2014 Festival of Archaeology

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge is all set to be one of the lead locations for this year’s nationwide Festival of Archaeology.

Involving a range of family-friendly activities and events during the entire six-week school holiday – from July 12th to August 31st – the Cheddar Gorge Archaeology Festival is part of the nation-wide the Council for British Archaeology’s own summer festival of July 12th-27th, and is being billed as the best place in the South West of England to “come and get involved”.

In particular, Cheddar Gorge and Caves will be celebrating ‘The Horse Hunters of Cheddar Gorge’, with regular demonstrations and talks, and plenty of hands-on activities for the kids.

Our ancestors came to the caves in Cheddar Gorge at the end of the Ice Age, 14,700 years ago as the ice sheets retreated and the tundra was replaced by grassland, and hunted the wild horses by stampeding them over cliffs.  And, from Saturday, July 12th, cave guides – dressed in deerskins – will demonstrate the Stone Age survival skills of flint-knapping and fire-making, and will talk about the artefacts and human and animal bones excavated from Gough’s Cave.

Other family-friendly activities on most days will include “cave painting”, dig boxes, dressing-up, making pinch pots, quiz sheets and colouring sheets.  No booking is necessary, and all activities will be included in the cost of the regular “Explorer Ticket”: Adults £18.95 (£16.11 online); Children (5-15) £12.50 (£10.62 online); Family (2 adults 2 children) £57.50 (£48.75 online; and under 5s are free.

Cheddar Gorge is one of the UK’s most spectacular natural locations, boasting seven separate attractions where visitors can step back in time…as well as deep underground.

The Museum of Pre History contains everything from a replica of Britain’s oldest complete skeleton – Cheddar Man – to evidence of cannibalism.  Outside in the Gorge there’s an Open-top Bus Tour.  Or, for the more active visitor, it’s possible to enjoy one of the most stunning walks in England – the three-mile Cliff Top Gorge Walk; and climb the 274 steps, up to The Lookout Tower.

Gough’s Cave is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful stalactite caverns in the world.  It’s also where the cannibalised remains of 5 individuals from 14,700 years ago and the Cheddar Man skeleton from 9,000 years ago were found.  Nearby Cox’s Cave is a shimmering, brilliantly coloured underground sanctuary with calcite sculptures, dancing fountains, and mirror pools.

For some visitors, however, the ultimate way of exploring Cheddar Gorge & Caves from top to bottom is Cheddar Gorge X-Treme, which offers adventure caving, and rock climbing.  Further details about Cheddar Gorge & Caves can be found at www.cheddargorge.co.uk.

For further information, and images, please contact:

Steve Mytton  Tel: 01985 845415      E-mail: steve.mytton@longleat.co.uk

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