Pontnewydd Cave

Pontnewydd and the Elwy Valley Caves

Stephen Aldhouse-Green (University of Cardiff), Rick Peterson and Elizabeth Walker (National Museums Wales)

Pontnewydd Cave in north-east Wales is one of the most significant Palaeolithic sites in Britain. It has yielded hominid remains of probable Neanderthal affinity together with an Acheulian stone tool industry. The human occupation is of later Middle Pleistocene age (c. 225 000 years ago). The site has been under investigation since 1976 as part of the long-running Palaeolithic Settlement of Wales project directed by Professor Aldhouse-Green. This research has had a major impact on our understanding of the Lower Palaeolithic in Britain. The current research brings to final publication the work carried out at the site since the first excavation monograph was published in 1984. It provides a definitive statement of research about the site to date.

The hominid remains, artefacts and fauna were placed in the cave by several Pleistocene debris flows. As a consequence the provenance and taphonomy of the assemblage required careful interpretation. The new multi-authored monograph places the Elwy valley caves within a geological and archaeological context and allows a detailed publication of research on the artefacts, fauna and hominid remains. It also includes a synthesis of how this work feeds back into understandings of Palaeolithic settlement on the edge of the habitable world.


Aldhouse-Green, S., Peterson, R. and Walker, E. (eds) 2012. Neanderthals in Wales: Pontnewydd and the Elwy Valley caves. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Green, H.S. 1984. Pontnewydd Cave. A Lower Palaeolithic Hominid Site in Wales: the first report. Cardiff: National Museum of Wales.


National Museums Wales

Further Information

Archaeology Research Group