|Oldbury Rock Shelters – 25.8.2003
WOW – wow wow wow. These are cool. They were occupied in the Middle Mesolithic period (100,000BC to 30,000 BC)
The southern one I found with Juamei’s instructions. The shelter is just off the path marked at both ends by small concrete plaques marked ‘Public Bridleway’ (i.e. not the ravine like path marked with a wooden post labelled ‘By Way’). It’s quite amazing to think that you are standing somewhere that people used up to 100,000 years ago. Underneath the rock overhang, parts of it are surprisingly high enough for me to stand up in (I’m only 5’ 8” though).
Then I found a set of shelters further north. What I saw doesn’t quite tie up with what the English Heritage record of scheduled monuments says (see the link on the oldbury page which links you across to a PDF document on the MAGIC site). Annoyingly, some of it does totally make sense, and some doesn’t.
I walked about 200m along the eastern edge of the apple orchard before investigating through a small gap in the trees/undergrowth and found a large and enigmatic tree (complete with some written graffiti and sun style aerosol daubings – presumably not Mesolithic) underneath which was a set of low cave shelters / holes. This is just underneath the crest of the hill, facing east (as the English Heritage record says). And is exactly where the red dot is on Juamei’s annotated map on this page. But it’s not the same as his directions. Before finding the shelter I did go all the way down to the end of the field, where there didn’t seem to be anything. The shelters I saw did not have a platform outside of 4m wide, more like 1 metre (be careful – it’s a steep drop). And it was more like 200m from the other shelter, not 90m. Maybe I found something different? Maybe just all of us using rough measurements? Really not sure!
I was really chuffed at finding these shelters and really freaked out to be feeling so close to our ancestors.
NB – this second rock shelter is offically on private land so don’t come running to me if someone tells you off!
Posted by pure joy
27th August 2003ce