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A.G.M. & Dinner 1953

If a report is received in time it will be included as an Appendix to this issue.  If not, it will be included with the April B.B.


The following books have recently been added to the Library: -

Wessex Cave Club Journal Dec. 1952.
Devon Speleeo Socy. Newsletter No. 30.
British Caver Vol. 23.

Ted Mason has presented the following: -

Archaeological Excavations at Ogof-yr-Esgyrn by B.J. & D. Mason.

Report on Human Remains and Material recovered from the River Axe in the Great Cave of Wookey Hole during Diving operations from October 1947 to January 1949.

Thanks very mush Ted! J.I.

About Bats

By J. Ifold.

Bats are flying mammals of the order Chiroptera.  There are twelve known different species of bats in this country, but less is known about them than any other of our wild mammals; there is a large field of discovery open to anyone who is interested in finding out more about these little creatures.

I am fortunate in having a colony of long-eared bats in the roof of my house; they are in my opinion, the prettiest of all the British bats.  They are greyish brown in colour, and have a wing span of about nine inches.  Their ears, as their name implies, are very long, almost as long as their body, with a small inner ear, called the Tragus, tucked inside.  Their food is mainly flies, moths and other insects, and (Cavers please note) they are the heaviest drinkers of all our bats.

With the help the help of another member of the club I have, since June 1951, marked 19 males, 17 females and 7 babies.  I have had 20 re-finds, making the total handled 63.  A point of interest concerning baby bats is that in 1951 I found a nursing colony on August 22nd.  In 1952 I again found a nursing colony, but this time over a month earlier, on July 20th.  I wonder if anyone else studying bats has found a similar difference in the breeding times in two years?

Anyone who would like to read more about bats, can find plenty of Literature on the subject.  Here are a few examples: -

‘British Bats’ by Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald.

Transactions of the Cave research Group Vol.2.  No. 1.

Cave Science No. 7.

The Devon Speleo. Newsletters often contain articles on bats by J. & W. Hooper.

J. Ifold.

Important Notice to intending Contributors

Articles for publication in the B.B. and all correspondence in connection with the editorial since of the newsletter should be sent to: -

T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Editor.  48, Novers Park Road, Bristol. 4.

I have now moved from 74, Woodleigh Gardens, Whitchurch, and any mail sent to that address may be subject to considerable delay.

Radiocarbon (C14) Dating.

By Yet Another Scientist.

I was very pleased to see in the December and January editions of the B.B. that there are at least two people in the B.E.C. who have interest in matters other than motor-bikes and holes-in-the-ground.  I refer of course to ‘Scientist’s’ article on laboratory dating of radio-active organic archaeological remains, and to ‘Another Scientist’s’ informative bibliography.  It is in order to smooth out a few of the bumps left by S. and A.S., and also to instil interest into other BECites that the following notes have been compiled.

Incidentally, S omitted to mention that the usual way of determining the amount of C14 left in a sample is by measuring the radiation in a delicate counting instrument, and the longer the sample remains under the counter, the more accurate the result will be.

It may well be asked, if we have such a method of dating, why so little is apparently known about dating the Prehistoric Britain.  Apart from the fact that is still virtually an American ‘weapon’, the chief reason would appear to be the difficulty in obtaining suitable samples and conveying them in an uncontaminated state to the laboratory.  The sites in this country where organic material survives, other than bone (which is very liable to contamination when in an unburnt state) and charcoal, are very rare, and when such material is discovered it is obviously of prime importance to preserve it in its physical state.  The preservative (e.g. Poly-vinyl Acetate in Toluol) naturally falsifies any reading taken.  Again, supposing the relic has been packed in cotton-wool or wood-shavings, microscopic particles of these materials may adhere to it and again give a false reading due to their own radio-active discharges.

It should also be quite obvious that this method of dating is more useful in assigning approximate dates to early cultures than giving accurate ones to our later periods which in many cases overlap each other.  Actually, precise dates are not of great importance in Archaeology, the first questions to be answered on my site are: - Period and Culture.  For example - one of the greatest mysteries of British Prehistory, Silbury Hill in Wilts, yielded only organic remains, and measurement of their C14 decay would have given us its date within a few years, but we still would have been no wiser than we are today.  On the other hand, had but one piece of Beaker pottery been discovered in the centre, we could say with certainty that it was contemporaneous with the adjacent temple of Avebury itself.

In conclusion I should like to add the following to A.S.’s bibliography: -

1.                   ‘Dating the Past’ Prof. Zenner.

2.                   ‘American Antiquity’ Vol. 17 No. Pt.2.

3.                   ‘Antiquity’ No. 99 (Sept. ’51) P.145.

4.                   ‘Archaeological dating by Radio-active Carbon’ Prof. Zeuner (Science Progress April ’51 p. 225138).

Yet Another Scientist.


by P.A.E. Stewart.

I have been told about a cave or caves near Luton, presumably in chalk at the village of Totternhoe on O.S. 1” Pop. No. 147.  Grid Ref.  E498 N 222.

They were broken into prior to the 1914-1918 war and were considered very fine.  During the war (1st.) it was thought that spies would hide in them so they were blocked up and the entrance was lost.  However I am enquiring about them to see what can be done.


There is also a story that these caves come out of Dunstable Priory (about 3 miles away) but that, I think is the usual twaddle.  I am expecting to come across the old chestnut about a dog being lost down there and either appearing in the Tigers! den at Whipsnade, or under the counter of some of the local tobacco shops!!

There is also a story about a cave under Church at West Wycombe.  You are charged a nominal sum and are given a candle.  It used to be the haunt of Satanists and has been done up as they used it – or something like that.  I haven’t checked it yet.  All the folks hereabouts have their eyes on the stars.  It’s a bit difficult to get them interested in anything earthy like spelunkering.  The nearest approach is a bod who has a chunk of obsidian his desk.  It looks like a profile of Tryfan without ‘Adam and Eve’.  He gets his desk light to cast odd shadows and blows smoke around it.  Ah me, these mad mountaineers.  I just get a piece of red plasticine and think of the graunches in Lamb Leer.

If anyone has any information on these caves – Totternhoe and West Wycombe, or any other caves in the Chilterns, I would be very pleased to hear from them!


                        (And so would I! Ed.)

The Immortal Statement

By K.C. Dobbs.

Now I’ve heard it said in many places
Where Cavers pause to air their graces.
In pots; in slots; on diving ops;
In caves; near graves; on endless drops;
On bikes; in cars; on mountain hikes;
On rafts (by Jones); on three wheeled trikes#.
In sumps and squeezes, on manual pumps,
And many other lousy dumps.
On dangling ropes; on ladder pitches,
Or by Hon. Treas. who holds our riches.
Go where the Belfry Binder’s© Cooked,
By detailer, where no one looks,
Go in any, every place
Wherein a caver shows his face,
And there and the you’ll hear it said


# For further information see Dan Hasell.

© For the new and uninitiated: -

‘Binder’ ---- a form of stew, eaten during the ‘Olden Days’.  Meat (including at least one dead mouse or frog spawn, according to season.  Ed.) 15 p.c.; Soap 4 p.c., unidentified substance approx. 9 p.c.; Washing up water  to 100 p.c.


Owing to lack of space the article on Cave photography in Colour is held over to next month.


Here is an extract from a letter recently received from Johnny (Menace) Morris: -

 ‘We will always be glad to see any members of the Club when they are in , (but not ‘en masse’).  If there are only two at a time they are welcome to spend the night (we haven’t room for any more).  We have also a very fine pub in the village, by the way’.

Johnny’s address, by the way, is: -

J.V. Morris, The Green, Three Cocks, Brecon.


The Editor would like once more to thank all those who have contributed so nobly to the B.B. in the past.  He is building up a small balance of excellent articles for future issues, but all the same still urgently needs more.  News of caving trips, climbing ditto, anything that interests you interests the club, and unless it is literally unprintable it will arrive in the BB at the appropriate time.





When it doesn’t arrive don’t bind about the organisation, but make sure that (a. we have your current address, and (b.  your sub., is paid).


Here are some ‘Official’ addresses for you: -

R. J. Bagshaw, Hon. Sec. & Hon, Treas,
56, Ponsford Road, Bristol. 4.

K. C. Dobbs, Assist. Hon. Sec. B.B, Circulation and printing,
55. Broadfield Road, Bristol. 4.

D. Coase, Caving Sec., Batsford, Lower Failand, Bristol. 8.

A. Collins, Assist, Caving Sec,

27, Gordon Road, Clifton, Bristol.

P. Ifold, Climbing Sec, and Assistant Librarian,

5. Sydney Place Stapleton Road, Bristol. 5.

R. Setterington, Hut Warden,

21, Priorswood Road, Taunton, Somt,

A, Johnson, Belfry Engineer,

46, The Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol.

C. Coase, Lady Representative,

Address as D. Coase.

M, Jones is co-opted to Committee and will be Tackle Officer.

12, Milton Crescent, Horfield, Bristol.7.

J. Ifold, Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Nr. Bristol.


You, the members of the B.E.C. have voted us, the Committee, in for this year.  But without your co-operation we cannot make this Club a real success.  If you have any suggestions or binds, get in touch with the appropriate committee member, or write to the Hon. Sec., so that the matter can be brought up at the next committee meeting.