Chapel Fell Cave:

This is a Mesolithic cave overlooking Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales; the site is set in a south facing limestone scar overlooking a narrow stretch of dry land next to the marshy ground at the edge of the Tarn; the Cave was excavated by a team of archaeologists from Bradford University over several seasons in the 1990s.

The evidence found shows that it may have been used as a hunting lookout during the Mesolithic period; the site is ideally suited for hunters; from 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; though, poorly preserved animal bone was also found; identifiable animals included hare, fox, roe, deer, badger and a large bird; fish scales were also found, particularly perch.

During the excavation, the Bradford University team also found a single perforated bone bead, along with a perforated stone disc; it is speculated that these were from necklaces.

Chapel Cave made the headlines recently, when the National Trust began renovation of a derelict orchid house, at the building used by the archaeologists from Bradford as their dig headquarters.

They discovered to their amazement a colony of Britainís rarest and largest spiders; more than 150 of the cave dwelling species Meta menardi and Meta bourneti; the spiders flourished in the derelict orchid house which had the dark, dank conditions they needed to survive; adapted to live underground, the spiders measure up to 3.1in (8cm) across and usually remain hidden in cave roof cocoons, from which they sally to find prey, they will nip if repeatedly provoked.

Cave Spider

Tracing the spiderís journey back to the archaeological project from Bradford University 10 years earlier, the conservationists realized that the archaeologists had used the building for storing samples and the spiders had made their way to the orchid house on their clothes and equipment; they were repatriated to Chapel cave shortly afterwards, where they remain guarding the archaeology from future generations of Indiana Jonesís

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