The Aveline's Hole Cranium: A partial solution to a long standing enigma

Christopher Meiklejohn, Rick Schulting, Jonathan Musgrave, Jeff Babb, Thomas Higham, David A Richards, Graham Mullan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Aveline's Hole is both one of the best-known sites with early human skeletal material in Britain and one of the most problematic in its history. First discovered and explored at the close of the 18th century, it yielded an estimated burial count of at least fifty individuals. Twentieth century work suggested a Late Upper Palaeolithic date for the material, in a context that might be called Creswellian. A recent dating programme places the human remains into the early Holocene and confirms the site as a Mesolithic cemetery in all senses of that word. Though a number of partial studies of the material have been published, no full description was attempted or published prior to the destruction of much of the collection in 1940. Recently one of us published a full study of the site history and a description and analysis of the surviving material. However, that study did note the small number of intact but undated crania that have been attributed to the site at various times. This study looks at one of these, denoted as AH9 and never previously described, in the aftermath of direct radiocarbon dating. Both direct dating and indirect analyses indicate that it is highly unlikely that this skull was part of the Mesolithic assemblage from this site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-294
JournalProceedings of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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