Spatial Analysis of Kents Cavern Cave Bear Remains using GIS

2010 Geological Society of America (GSA) Denver Annual Meeting, 31 October –3 November 2010

LUNDBERG, Joyce; MIHAI, Sorin; and MCFARLANE, Donald

“During his extensive 19th century excavations of Kents Cavern, Devon, UK, William Pengelly collected many thousands of palaeontological and archaeological remains. However, spatial analysis of the remains has not previously been possible because they are now widely dispersed between museums, and the specimen numbers assigned by Pengelly could not easily be related to the cave survey. We have now assembled available museum records into a single database. The unique location codes that Pengelly devised allowed us to build a GIS system based on our previously reconstructed Pengelly excavation map. This thus facilitates previously impossible spatial analyses of fossils and artifacts throughout the cave. An excellent property of the GIS is that we can now easily, visually pick out potential problems of recording or curation in the original data. We report here on the first use of the system on the distribution of cave bear remains. The maps demonstrate that Ursus deningeri entered the cave through a now-sealed High Level Chamber entrance at the back of the cave in the middle Pleistocene, whereas U. arctos accessed the cave in the late Pleistocene through the now-sealed Northeast Gallery entrance. The denning areas are reconstructed as Labyrinth/Bear’s Den for U. deningeri and Vestibule/Great Chamber for U. arctos. Considerable post-mortem redistribution of the remains of both species is indicated.”