<< Our Photo Pages >> Gop Caves - Cave or Rock Shelter in Wales in Flintshire

Submitted by TimPrevett on Sunday, 28 June 2015  Page Views: 27593

Natural PlacesSite Name: Gop Caves
Country: Wales County: Flintshire Type: Cave or Rock Shelter
Nearest Town: Prestatyn  Nearest Village: Trelawnyd
Map Ref: SJ08648009  Landranger Map Number: 116
Latitude: 53.309840N  Longitude: 3.372634W
Condition:
5Perfect
4Almost Perfect
3Reasonable but with some damage
2Ruined but still recognisable as an ancient site
1Pretty much destroyed, possibly visible as crop marks
0No data.
-1Completely destroyed
4 Ambience:
5Superb
4Good
3Ordinary
2Not Good
1Awful
0No data.
5 Access:
5Can be driven to, probably with disabled access
4Short walk on a footpath
3Requiring a bit more of a walk
2A long walk
1In the middle of nowhere, a nightmare to find
0No data.
4 Accuracy:
5co-ordinates taken by GPS or official recorded co-ordinates
4co-ordinates scaled from a detailed map
3co-ordinates scaled from a bad map
2co-ordinates of the nearest village
1co-ordinates of the nearest town
0no data
5

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Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by TimPrevett : The Gop Caves are surprisingly close to The Gop Cairn, from which they can be accessed. Discovered in 1886-7, the caves recess some way into the limestone of Gop Hill. On top of evidence of hyaena activity during the last Ice Age, a square enclosure had been constructed, enclosed by rubble, and contained the remains of at last 14 humans, dating across the Neolithic. Evidence of burning at high te... (Vote or comment on this photo)
The Gop Caves are surprisingly close to Gop Cairn, from which they can be accessed. Discovered in 1886-7, the caves recess some way into the limestone of Gop Hill.

On top of evidence of hyaena activity during the last Ice Age, a square enclosure had been constructed, enclosed by rubble, and contained the remains of at last 14 humans, dating across the Neolithic. Evidence of burning at high temperatures was found nearby. Usage of the caves continued for some time, with an additional 6 burials being discovered.

Note: Gop Caves and Cairn inspire song from Emily Portman's new album Coracle
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Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by TimPrevett : The folklore of the area suggests a network of tunnels honeycombing the hillside. The more one becomes acquainted with the hill, the more this seems credible. This is another entrance, to the east, and the imprudent could easily find themselves in danger it seems. Other entrances can be seen, but harder to photograph due to trees, bracken etc. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by TimPrevett : This is in the more western cave, about 30 feet in. This can only be entered by crawling on your tummy. There are taller places further on, even one that could take someone about 6 feet tall. This is looking back towards the entrance; behind me there was a tunnel that went down, and around a bend, descending into wet mud. Without proper caving advice, I was not happy about proceeding any furthe... (Vote or comment on this photo)

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by TimPrevett : A view from just inside the most accessible cave. Having further explored these caves, they do in fact recess some way, with several smaller passages going off. A powerful torch will be necessary for future visits. Jez was not happy to enter the cave's mouth, pointing out a few recently fallen pieces of rock, and sat outside for the duration. (1 comment - Vote or comment on this photo)

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by TimPrevett : Looking into the easternmost cave at The Gop. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by TimPrevett : The Gop caves' entrance on particularly sunny day, lovely sheltered spot and thousands of daisies in the well drained south-facing slope. Visited 6th May 2019. Photo with iPhone 6s.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by Bladup : Gop Caves.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by Bladup

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by durhamnature : Old cross-section drawing from "Journal of British Archaeology" via archive.org

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by durhamnature (1 comment)

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by durhamnature : Old plan drawing from "Journal of British Archaeology" via archive.org

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by postman : Looking back out

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by postman : Beautiful cave moths?

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by DrewParsons : The smaller of the two neolithic caves. September 2010. (1 comment)

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by DrewParsons : The limestone ridge which contains the neolithic occupancy cave. September 2010.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by DrewParsons : Tim (Shropshire Traveller) outside the main cave during an excellent day of visiting prehistoric sites together across northern Wales in late September 2010. (1 comment)

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by DrewParsons : The main neolithic era cave. I did not crawl into the inner santuary as it reeked of urine. September 2010.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by jeffrep : Interior of Caves Near Gop-y-Goleuni.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by jeffrep : Close-Up of the Gop Caves near Gop-y-Goleuni.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by shalluma : Site in Flintshire (Sir y Fflint): The entrance to the eastern caves. A relatively unknown and important site.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by shalluma : Site in Flintshire (Sir y Fflint): Looking directly up at one point in the inner chamber. The void appears to go on into infinity.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by shalluma : Site in Flintshire (Sir y Fflint): Another tunnel leading away into the distance.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by shalluma : Site in Flintshire (Sir y Fflint) Wales: View of one of the small, throat like, tunnels leading off from the inner chamber. Seems that there is an extensive network of caves in the hill.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by shalluma : Site in Flintshire (Sir y Fflint) Wales: To reach this chamber you have to crawl a few feet though a narrow passage that is on a slight incline. Once inside you can stand up. A torch is essential if you wish to progress this far.

Gop Caves
Gop Caves submitted by shalluma : Site in Flintshire (Sir y Fflint) Wales: The entrance to the eastern cave. The caves were obviously of great significance in the past and I suspect the building of the enormous cairn on top of the hill was a way of marking this sacred spot.

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Nearby sites listing. In the following links * = Image available
 63m NNE 17° Gop-y-Goleuni* Cairn (SJ08668015)
 281m E 83° Gop Wood Mound* Cairn (SJ08928012)
 598m S 188° Hen Dy Round Barrow(s) (SJ08547950)
 696m WNW 296° Gop Farm Bone Cave Cave or Rock Shelter (SJ08028041)
 926m ENE 71° Bryn-Y-Odyn* Round Barrow(s) (SJ0952380376)
 1.2km NW 317° Ty-Uchaf* Round Barrow(s) (SJ07868095)
 1.8km E 82° Axton Barrows Round Barrow(s) (SJ104803)
 1.9km S 171° Cae Bryn Round Barrow(s) (SJ08917821)
 2.1km NW 310° Coed-Yr-Esgob Round Barrow(s) (SJ07098146)
 2.4km W 270° Graig Fawr (Dyserth)* Standing Stone (Menhir) (SJ06288013)
 2.4km SSW 208° Marian Ffrith Hillfort (SJ0746877947)
 2.7km SSW 211° Marion Bach 2 Round Barrow(s) (SJ07217782)
 2.8km SW 235° Moel Hiraddug* Hillfort (SJ063785)
 3.0km SSW 211° Marion Bach 1 Round Barrow(s) (SJ07057759)
 3.1km SSW 199° Aelwyd Uchaf (Cottage) Barrows Round Barrow(s) (SJ0758577185)
 3.2km WSW 253° Dyserth Church* Ancient Cross (SJ056792)
 3.6km SSW 195° Llyn-Y-Gorseddau 3 Round Barrow(s) (SJ07647662)
 3.6km SSW 194° Llyn-Y-Gorseddau 2 Round Barrow(s) (SJ07687657)
 3.7km SSE 155° Hendre Bach Round Barrow(s) (SJ10137671)
 3.7km SSW 194° Llyn-Y-Gorseddau 1 Round Barrow(s) (SJ07657651)
 4.0km SSE 164° Pany Y Dulath Round Barrow(s) (SJ09677624)
 4.0km S 169° Criafol* Round Barrow(s) (SJ09317611)
 4.3km WSW 252° Ffynnon Fair (Rhuddlan)* Holy Well or Sacred Spring (SJ045788)
 4.4km ESE 106° Maen Achwyfan* Ancient Cross (SJ129788)
 4.9km SSE 149° Traveller's Inn* Round Barrow(s) (SJ111759)
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Non-monumental burial in Neolithic Britain: a (largely) cavernous view by Andy B on Wednesday, 25 January 2017
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Extract from Non-monumental burial in Neolithic Britain: a (largely) cavernous view by Rick Schulting

It has long been known that many caves have yielded human remains, and that some of these were likely to be of Neolithic Age, but the full extent of this practice has only slowly become appreciated. The main obstacle to this realisation has been the open and hence disturbed nature of most cave deposits, and their multi-period use, so that it is very rarely possible to assign a date based on any artefactual associations.

Chamberlain first drew attention to the number of directly C dated Neolithic humans from caves that had been accumulating for some years. The vast majority of these were ‘disappointments’ in terms of the research projects that funded the dates, since these were by and large intended to discover palaeolithic or mesolithic humans. Nevertheless, as more human bone from caves is directly AMS C dated, it is becoming increasingly clear that cave burial was a significant feature of earlier (and later) neolithic mortuary practice. Some individuals across Britain have been directly dated to the Neolithic, and, if associated remains are often of approximately the same age, there are more than individuals represented.

Some caves have yielded only a single individual, indeed sometimes only a single element, though it is usually not clear whether this is a result of cursory examination – a number of such finds were made by cavers investigating new passages - or is the original condition.

Other caves, often designated as ‘ossuary caves’, hold the remains of ten or more individuals :examples include Little Hoyle, Gop Cave, and Perthi Chwarae in Wales; Hay Wood Cave and New Park Quarry in south-western England; Calling Dale Low, Dowel and Elbolton Caves in northern England; and Raschoille Cave in western Scotland.

However, the neolithic attribution of all individuals at these sites is far from certain. It is supported most strongly for Little Hoyle, Gop, and most especially Raschoille, all of which have multiple AMS dates, though these range considerably within this period.

While long barrows and chambered tombs have long received most of the attention of British neolithic archaeologists investigating mortuary practices, it is clear that there were a variety of different depositional contexts for the remains of the dead at this time. Other kinds of monuments, and in particular causewayed enclosures, seem to have played an important role in funerary behaviour. But other, less immediately recognisable places also feature.

More flat graves are being identified through the application of AMS dating to burials lacking diagnostic grave goods. A number of human remains recovered from river contexts have also been shown in recent years to fall within the Neolithic Period, raising the possibility in some instances of river ‘burial’.

But, at least quantitatively, the most important alternative burial location to monuments is without question deposition in caves. Again, it is the increasingly routine use of AMS dating that is raising awareness of the number of neolithic human remains from caves. In many cases there appear to be parallels in how the skeleton is treated in caves and monuments, such as the deposition of both articulated and
disarticulated remains, and the manipulation of skeletal elements.

The significance of these different burial locations remains poorly understood, but there are some clear lines of inquiry that can be explored. Foremost is the need to document the full extent of cave burial in the Neolithic through the instigation of systematic dating programmes. This can then provide the basis for a comparison of the demographic and health profiles of groups interred in caves and in monuments.

Preliminary stable isotope results from South Wales suggest that the long-term diets of individuals differed

Read the rest of this post...
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Gop Caves and Cairn inspire song from Emily Portman's album Coracle by Andy B on Sunday, 28 June 2015
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Emily Portman's abbum Coracle was released on 22nd June 2015.

From folkradio.co.uk: The first song, Darkening Bell, is one of the album’s highlights, its subject matter a visit made by Emily and some friends to the ancient Gop Caves in North Wales. On the top of the hill in which the caves are located is Gop Cairn [see nearby sites list above], which is thought to have been constructed some 6,000 years ago – it’s also rumoured to be either Boudica’s grave, or the burial place of a Roman general – while the caves themselves have been said to lead into underground tunnels used by the Celtic warriors of the local Tegeingl tribe to mount guerrilla attacks on the invading Roman army in the 1st century AD.

It’s no surprise, then, that Emily’s lyric reflects the site’s richly inspirational history with a highly evocative word picture of one of its possible pasts. A distant banjo and slow, stately percussion sparkle like ancient gold behind the smoky strings of Lucy Farrell and Rachel Newton (Emily’s bandmates in her trio) before the tempo quickens to an intense and atmospheric conclusion.

Read more at
http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2015/06/emily-portman-coracle/

http://www.emilyportman.co.uk

Video for Darkening Bell


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiqDIAH9R5g

We have lots more music inspired by ancient sites in our forum thread, join in and add any you know:
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/modules.php?op=modload&name=Forum&file=viewtopic&topic=5154&forum=2&start=0
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Re: Gop Caves by coldrum on Thursday, 07 January 2010
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According to the RCHAMW Coflein site burials were found in this cave.

"A rock shelter, with diverging caves, explored from 1886, revealing a Mesolithic-BA sequence, involving many burials, some contained within a cist."

http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/306726/details/GOP+CAVE/
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Re: Gop Caves by Anonymous on Thursday, 05 November 2009
there was never 14 bodies found ,,,only faunal remains were found
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