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Gate on Cathole Cave, Gower

shortscotsman

New member
as we can see there is now a very impressive gate on cathole cave on Gower.
IMAG0047.jpg


I'm not sure if I would argue with the need for this particular gate, HOWEVER, i think it would be good practice for gates to give some info regarding who erecting them and how to contact if access is required.  I guess if you are in the right clique you don't need this info.

 

Rhys

Moderator
Wow!

I agree. Without that info it's just asking to be broken open - and I'm not condoning that action.

Rhys
 

graham

New member
You will recall the thread earlier on UKC about vandalism to the Palaeolithic engraving in this cave.

 

shortscotsman

New member
graham said:
You will recall the thread earlier on UKC about vandalism to the Palaeolithic engraving in this cave.

Yup. And obviously preservation is important.  But without information is becomes preservation for the benefit of
the chosen few.
 

graham

New member
shortscotsman said:
graham said:
You will recall the thread earlier on UKC about vandalism to the Palaeolithic engraving in this cave.

Yup. And obviously preservation is important.  But without information is becomes preservation for the benefit of
the chosen few.

I hear where you are coming from but would ask how many other cave gates in the UK have such notices on them. I can think of one & I know that the information on it is so out of date that no-one could have tried the telephone number in several years.

And before you ask, I am actively involved in getting that one updated, although it hasn't been done yet.
 

droid

Active member
shortscotsman said:
Yup. And obviously preservation is important.  But without information is becomes preservation for the benefit of
the chosen few.

In the case of archaeologically important caves that's totally acceptable to me.
 

NigR

New member
shortscotsman said:
But without information is becomes preservation for the benefit of the chosen few.

Of course, by limiting access to the chosen few it vastly reduces the chances of anyone else being able to see what may or may not be there and hence raise doubts about whether there is indeed anything actually worth preserving in the first place.
 

droid

Active member
In the case of archaeology, I'd suggest that the average caver probably wouldn't know what they are looking at anyway.

Being a caver doesn't grant carte blanche to go down any subterranean orifice that takes your fancy.
 

Rhys

Moderator
I trust the people who know that what is in there needs preservation and I'm not against the site being gated. However, cavers and the general public have always enjoyed unobstructed access here and it needs to be made clear to any visitors in the next few years why this is no longer the case - and who to contact if limited access is available.

Graham's point about keeping the information up to date is an excuse and bit of a red herring. It doesn't need to be a name, phone number or e-mail address.

"Contact Cambrian Caving Council - details may be found on the internet" or the like would suffice.

Presumably a site as important as this will be occasionally monitored anyway, signs could be checked and updated as part of that routine.

Rhys
 

graham

New member
Rhys said:
I trust the people who know that what is in there needs preservation and I'm not against the site being gated. However, cavers and the general public have always enjoyed unobstructed access here and it needs to be made clear to any visitors in the next few years why this is no longer the case - and who to contact if limited access is available.

As I pointed out, very few cave gates anywhere else in the UK have such information.

Rhys said:
Graham's point about keeping the information up to date is an excuse and bit of a red herring. It doesn't need to be a name, phone number or e-mail address.

Not really, it was a comment on the single site that I could recall that actually does have such a sign.

Rhys said:
Presumably a site as important as this will be occasionally monitored anyway, signs could be checked and updated as part of that routine.

You'd have to ask the National Museum of Wales, who were responsible for this installation, as far as I am aware.
 

graham

New member
NigR said:
shortscotsman said:
But without information is becomes preservation for the benefit of the chosen few.

Of course, by limiting access to the chosen few it vastly reduces the chances of anyone else being able to see what may or may not be there and hence raise doubts about whether there is indeed anything actually worth preserving in the first place.

Whereas leaving it open to any old vandal who happens to be passing ensures the veracity of the find. OK.
 

graham

New member
droid said:
Being a caver doesn't grant carte blanche to go down any subterranean orifice that takes your fancy.

There are many who believe fervently that it does, as it happens. There are many landowners who do not agree.
 

shortscotsman

New member
You'd have to ask the National Museum of Wales, who were responsible for this installation, as far as I am aware.

This, at least, is information. 

There are several caves I know where information is given. E.g. Agen Allwedd and Ogof Cwnc where the gates carry the
logo of the CCW (countryside commission wales).  I think this is "good practice" - it gives a starting point for following up.
[I agree that many other gates could do with this sort of info.]  In principle, this gate has been installed, presumably,
using public money so I think the installing agency should have had their info on the gate. 

In general, I  think a lack of transparency leads to mistrust.


 

NigR

New member
graham said:
Rhys said:
I trust the people who know that what is in there needs preservation and I'm not against the site being gated. However, cavers and the general public have always enjoyed unobstructed access here and it needs to be made clear to any visitors in the next few years why this is no longer the case - and who to contact if limited access is available.

As I pointed out, very few cave gates anywhere else in the UK have such information.

Precisely such a notice is positioned on the cliff outside Tooth Cave (another cave of some archaeological importance) situated in the same valley as Cathole less than a mile away.

Like Rhys, I fear for the future of this gate. Looking at Shortscotsman's photograph, the padlock itself looks particularly vulnerable. Even if it is not broken off, it appears to be so easily accessible that there is nothing to prevent anyone who might not agree with elitist access arrangements from making it inoperable with a tube of araldite or superglue. Good for conservation I guess but not much use to anyone who might want to go and study whatever is there. The bars themselves appear to be sturdy enough but even these might present an attractive challenge for those involved in Swansea's thriving scrap metal industry.

For what it's worth, I am not opposed to the gating of this cave so long as it can be proven that something of true archaeological significance actually exists there. As things stand, however, I have grave doubts about the veracity of the find and remain to be convinced.



 

graham

New member
NigR said:
For what it's worth, I am not opposed to the gating of this cave so long as it can be proven that something of true archaeological significance actually exists there. As things stand, however, I have grave doubts about the veracity of the find and remain to be convinced.

I recommend to you Dr Nash's paper in the latest UBSS Proceedings. Alternatively there is a shorter version here. If you have doubts about the science in that - especially about the U/Th dating of the stal, then I am quite sure that the editor of that journal would be willing to see a contribution from you discussing the point and would subject it to the same stringent refereeing process that the recent paper had to undergo.

It is an interesting area of study and even the most recent paper in Science by Alistair Pike et al which discussed the dating of some Spanish Palaeolithic parietal art has attracted criticism from some French experts, as discussed here.
 

NigR

New member
Thanks for the link, Graham.

Is the full (UBSS Proceedings) version available online or does one have to purchase a copy? If the latter then it will have to wait until I can get over to the SWCC library at Penwyllt.

No problems at all with the science involved in the dating - you know full well what my doubts are concerned with.
 

graham

New member
NigR said:
Thanks for the link, Graham.

Is the full (UBSS Proceedings) version available online or does one have to purchase a copy? If the latter then it will have to wait until I can get over to the SWCC library at Penwyllt.

No problems at all with the science involved in the dating - you know full well what my doubts are concerned with.

UBSS proceedings go online in entirety one year after publication. This is the most open access model that we can use which is compatible with the finances of publication.

As a matter of fact, I do not know what your doubts are, at all. if you want to continue this by PM I'd be glad to hear them.
 

Rhys

Moderator
NigR said:
Precisely such a notice is positioned on the cliff outside Tooth Cave (another cave of some archaeological importance) situated in the same valley as Cathole less than a mile away.

Nearby Llethryd Swallet, also in the same valley, certainly used to have a plaque directing people to contact SWCC if I remember rightly. Though it is probably still possible to avoid the gate and enter at stream level - I haven't been for some years.
 

NigR

New member
Yes, Rhys - you are quite correct. However, last time I was there (a fair while ago) both the plaque and the gate were totally obscured by flood debris. No great problem because, as you point out, entry was easily attainable via the actual stream sink. (Not sure what the current situation is).

Several interesting caves in the Nature Reserve at Gwenlais (close to where I live) do in fact have small signs outside their entrances. These were placed by the CCW and simply advise against exploring the caves without proper equipment, also giving a contact number for further information. There are no gates but there would have been had I not become actively involved in the access negotiations. Although a little intrusive, the signs seemed a reasonable compromise - certainly preferable to several gates! Sadly, not everyone agreed and the sign on the largest entrance (oddly enough, the least noticeable) soon disappeared but the others are still in place. (And no tourists have gone missing yet, or at least none that we are aware of!).

Stuart France recently reminded me that he once erected an informational sign at Agen Allwedd following an incident of damage to the gate but it did not last long, a couple of months at best.

So signs are not necessarily going to solve every potential future problem but I do agree with both Rhys and Shortscotsman that having one there initially is a step in the right direction.
 
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