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Long Mile Cave

April 7, 2005 - 11:00-11:45 EST


District: Windsor

Parish: Trelawny

WGS84 L/L: 18 22 36.4; 77 38 38.8


JAD69: 181820 E, 191532 N

JAD2001: 681930 E, 691821 N

Altitude: 140m WGS84

Accuracy: +/- 10m horizontal; +/- 15m vertical

Type: Shelter cave

Accessibility: Walk-in

Depth: 3m

Length: 6m

Explorers: Anthony - 1920

Survey: McPhee & McFarlane - 1984

JU Ref: Text - pg 232; Map - pg 232


Entrance size: 18m W x 5m H

Entrance aspect: 115 deg true

Vegetation in general locale: Farm

Vegetation at entrance: Farm

Rock type: White limestone

Bedding: Poor

Jointing: Poor

Speleothems: Stals

Palaeo resources: Quaternary fossils

Archaeo resources: Taino midden

Hydrology: Dry

Siltation: N/A

Sink: N/A

Rising: N/A

Stream passage with surface activity: N/A

Stream passage without surface activity: N/A

Dark zone: 0%.

Climate: Hot, dry.

Bats: None

Bat guano: N/A

Guano mining: N/A

Guano condition: N/A

Eleutherodactylus cundalli: Some

Neoditomyia farri: None

Amblypygids: None

Periplaneta americana: None

Cave crickets: None

Sesarma: None

Other species: None. There is no dark zone at this site.

Visitation: Frequent

Speleothem damage: None

Graffiti: None

Garbage: Yes

Ownership: Private

Protection: None


Vulnerability: Medium. This small shelter cave is an important palaeo site, with fossils of Quaternary vertebrates excavated by Anthony in 1920, and McPhee and McFarlane, in 1984 and 1993, that included the extinct monkey, Xenothrix. Because of proximity to the road, and surrounding farms, it used often as a shelter.


Long Mile Cave

April 7, 2005

Team: Stewart, Roggy, Slack.

Notes: RS Stewart

Long Mile Cave was visited by us on a day when we did not have ground-transport. Our plan was to investigate two caves near Windsor that were within walking distance. This was the first of them, and Ruined Ground Cave would come next.

This site is a small, mostly-collapsed chamber cave that only survives as an overhang on the NW side. Most of the original roof is now in the form of boulders on a circular floor 18 metres wide. There is no dark zone, and no cave biota. It is located about 15 metres from the Coxheath to Windsor road, on the west side, and access requires nothing more than parking a car and scrambling over some boulders.

The ease in reaching the site has no doubt been a factor in its popularity for palaeontological excavations. In 1920, when H. E. Anthony was here, there was not yet a proper road, but it was still much simpler to access than it would have been if it were kilometres into the bush. By the time of the latest excavations, in 1993, it was only a five-minute drive from either Windsor or Coxheath.

The collection here of bones of the extinct monkey, Xenothrix mcgregori, is probably what it is best known for (see references in Jamaica Underground), but what is often overlooked is Anthony's discovery of a Taino kitchen midden when he first began to dig. Included in the finds were many Coney bones, pottery, and a few human bones. This site, along with the Pantrepant Taino sites 4 km's to the west, seem to indicate a substantial, long-term occupation in the northern fringes of this part of the Cockpit Country. Suspected petroglyphs found at Home Away Cave, to the south of the Escarpment, suggest that the Taino, at the very least, made exploratory forays into the Cockpit Country proper. We note this, because the Cockpit Country is not usually thought of in association with Amerindians, and this has perhaps led to it being somewhat ignored in this field.

Our own investigations would be limited to accurately georeferencing the site, and looking for signs of recent or ongoing human disturbance. We did not intend to excavate ourselves, and we knew beforehand that there would be no dark zone, so there was not a lot to be done other than look around.

The shelter is currently being used as such, and it seems that someone occasionally stays here, or at least stores things here. Bags of clothes were present, along with assorted bottles and garbage. No one has attempted to wall off a part of the cave behind the overhang (as at similar sites we have seen), and we saw no signs of recent digging, or moving of boulders, so disturbance is currently limited and the site retains value for future palaeo excavations. This could easily change, though, if someone were to move-in in earnest and "clean" things up. Because of this, we are listing this site with a medium vulnerability, and would suggest that it be considered for protection. This could take the form of something as simple as a plaque at the entrance that indicates the importance, and asks that the cave be left undisturbed. Cooperation from the landowner would of course be required, but in our experience, when you explain things to landowners in a respectful, non-condescending way, and make them aware that what they have is special, they are usually quite willing to do their part in preserving it.

During our visit, Dietrich scrambled down into various breakdown boulder voids located along the inner edge, but was not able to penetrate more than several metres vertically.

We now left Long Mile Cave, to hike back to Windsor, and then towards Pantrepant, to reach Ruined Ground Cave.


Long Mile Cave

April 7, 2005

Notes: DK Roggy

A collapsed shelter cave that forms a large bowl just to the west of the road going between Sherwood Content and Windsor.  The locals call it "Hell's Gate cave" apparently, because of some legend of a woman giving birth to a stillborn infant or some such thing.  I poked around the boulders along the wall in search of artefacts, to no avail. There was little more than an Eleuth or two living amongst the boulders.

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