The entrance sign to Kents Cavern
As seen from this survey c.1934, the caverns are vast and on a visit you just see a small section
When you first enter the caves you are shown a colourful lightshow & 'caverns' introduction with audio - very impressive!
Myself, four others and the tour guide start our tour of the caverns
Example of the equipment used to excavate the caverns around 1865
This spot had a very '127 Hours' movie feel about it!
'The Face' - when this was discovered they also found Roman coins from 2,000 years ago left under it...
A close-up of 'The Face' - early excavators believed this to be some kind of omen and carved 'Witchmarks' in the walls to warn off evil spirits
One of the many 'Witchmarks' carved into the walls - the 'M' kind of looking one
Our tour guide for the caverns shines a torch onto the 500,000 years old cave ceilings - you can't enter the caverns on your own due to safety reasons
The 'Neanderthal' skull - not totally extinct from the population as can be seen wandering around Torquay on a Friday & Saturday evening... (tour guides joke! brilliant!)
I took this photo looking up through the cavern ceilings, otherworldly...
Could this have been the inspiration for Jabba the Hutt from the Star Wars movie series?
...and these wall stalactites remind me of the creature from the Alien films...
Formed from the drops of mineral deposits from a stalactite above, the stalagmite in front is thousands of years old and the two in the back will probably join together in thousands of years to come!
Close-up of those two stalactite & stalagmite that are destined to join sometime thousands of years from now and behind safety glass casing
This actual setting of stalacites & stalagmites was photographed and used as a backdrop for the Doctor Who TV series in the 1960's
Close-up of a stalactite, formed of dripping minerals, protruding from the ceiling
As demonstrated by our tour guide, water minerals drop slowly off the stalacites on the ceiling and onto the ground forming stalagmites (the one he is touching for example)
These lines in the cavern walls show how deep the cavern has been dug out for exploration over the years since 1951. The caverns have also been visited by no other than Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia!
Early man used to light up the caverns using this same system of clam shells and some dried foliage as demonstrated by our tour guide (he also blew these out and we were left in complete darkness for a few minutes!)
As there was only a few of us on this tour we got to see an extra part of the caverns that is not normally seen by the public, this is actually an prehistoric animal bone buried in the cavern ceiling
The caverns have been a shelter for humans as far back as 350,000 years...
Modern Humans 'Homo Sapien Sapiens' lived just beneath the entrances of the caverns, animals such as 'cave bears' lived more deeper in
Excavator Arthur Ogilvy, seen here, found a human jawbone in the caverns in 1927 which has been dated to be 41-44,000 years old
The jawbone that was radiocarbon dated to be 31,000 years old