Bones found in mud banking

I am looking for some advice on what to do about getting some bones examined that I have discovered in a large mud banking inside a cave.
I don't want to give the location at this point but I am willing to give more details to the right person.
It would be amazing to know what animal they have come from and the age.


  • PXL_20240531_143954292.jpg
    223.8 KB · Views: 172


Well-known member
I'd suggest contacting the BCRA in the first instance, depending on where this is they may be able to get someone from the cave archaeology group out to take a look. Don't try and excavate them any further for the time being, that bone looks to be a femur with the top end missing and I don't think it's animal...


Well-known member
I would look up the relevant Regional Council (CNCC, DCA...) and contact their conservation officer; they will know how to contact the archaeologists. But I see AR has posted while I'm typing, that's another good suggestion.

Bob Mehew

Well-known member
If there is a suspicion that it is human, then you should report it to the police, no matter how old.


Well-known member
If there is a suspicion that it is human, then you should report it to the police, no matter how old.

Agreed - but not until it's been identified with certainty. Meanwhile, yes, low profile is best. I agree with AR's thoughts on what species it might (not) be.

If it's in the Dales or Peak District, if you want to PM me I could perhaps suggest a good person to consult directly. But the suggestions for help above are good.


Active member
Troll sat alone on his seat of stone,
And munched and mumbled a bare old bone;
For many a year he had gnawed it near,
For meat was hard to come by.
Done by! Gum by!
In a cave in the hills he dwelt alone,
And meat was hard to come by.

Up came Tom with his big boots on.
Said he to Troll: 'Pray, what is yon?
For it looks like the shin o' my nuncle Tim.
As should be a-lyin' in the graveyard.
Caveyard! Paveyard!
This many a year has Tim been gone,
And I thought he were lyin' in the graveyard.'

'My lad,' said Troll, 'this bone I stole.
But what be bones that lie in a hole?
Thy nuncle was dead as a lump o' lead,
Afore I found his shinbone.
Tinbone! Thinbone!
He can spare a share for a poor old troll,
For he don't need his shinbone.'

Said Tom: 'I don't see why the likes o' thee
Without axin' leave should go makin' free
With the shank or the shin o' my father's kin;
So hand the old bone over!
Rover! Trover!
Though dead he be, it belongs to he;
So hand the old bone over!'

'For a couple o' pins,' says Troll, and grins,
'I'll eat thee too, and gnaw thy shins.
A bit o' fresh meat will go down sweet!
I'll try my teeth on thee now.
Hee now! See now!
I'm tired o' gnawing old bones and skins;
I've a mind to dine on thee now.'

But just as he thought his dinner was caught,
He found his hands had hold of naught.
Before he could mind, Tom slipped behind
And gave him the boot to larn him.
Warn him! Darn him!
A bump o' the boot on the seat, Tom thought,
Would be the way to larn him.

But harder than stone is the flesh and bone
Of a troll that sits in the hills alone.
As well set your boot to the mountain's root,
For the seat of a troll don't feel it.
Peel it! Heal it!
Old Troll laughed, when he heard Tom groan,
And he knew his toes could feel it.

Tom's leg is game, since home he came,
And his bootless foot is lasting lame;
But Troll don't care, and he's still there
With the bone he boned from its owner.
Doner! Boner!
Troll's old seat is still the same,
And the bone he boned from its owner!

Andy C

New member
Pitlamp is correct, the first step is to confirm whether the bones are human or animal. If you dont know any archaeologists then contact either the county archaeology service, or (if your site is inside the boundary of a National Park) then contact the relevant National Park Archaeology Service. If the bones turn out to be human, then report the find to the coroner. The police should only be involved if the bones are less than 100 years old (the archaeologist should be able to make that judgement). If they ARE human AND more than 100 years old AND you want to dig them up (either out of interest, or to prevent them getting damaged) you will need a Licence for the Removal of Human Remains which can be obtained by an archaeologist from the Ministry of Justice.
The bones have been recovered and identified via the BCRA. They are leg bones from a small artiodactyl (cloven-hooved animal), probably sheep or goat or possibly roe deer. They are from a juvenile animal. Distal part of the ulna; radius without the unfused proximal epiphysis; half of the unfused distal epiphysis of a metacarpal; metacarpal without the unfused distal epiphysis; proximal part of the ulna. They are consistent with all deriving from the same individual animal. Interesting that they were incorporated in a mud bank which on closer observation has been emplaced as a debris flow and are in one of the most visited caves in Yorkshire showing that new finds can be made in the least likely place.


  • bones.jpg
    189.9 KB · Views: 29