Jamaican Caving Notes
(Pantrepant West Cave)
May 15, 2005
Team: Stewart, Conolley, Roggy.
Notes: RS Stewart
The identification of the JCO site, Pantrepant West Cave, with the JU listed Pantrepant Cave, is somewhat problematic. We have in JU, "A small cave with Amerindian petroglyphs. A large stalagmite in the entrance is carved with a face". This description can apply to either of the JCO sites, Pantrepant East or West, for there are petroglyph faces on stalagmites in the front part of both caves. The explorer in JU is listed as unknown, and it is uncertain if the supplied coordinates have a definite provenance. This becomes a factor because of a great discrepancy between the GPS-derived JCO coordinates for both East and West, and the stated JU position for Pantrepant Cave.
In JU, the JAD69 position for Pantrepant Cave plots 1500 metres south of East Cave, and 2300 metres to the SE of West Cave. We therefore have no guidance on what is what in the district. It does not help things that a listed synonym for Pantrepant Cave is "Spring Cave", because there is also a separate entry in JU for Spring Cave that plots a more acceptable 225m away from East Cave. Of course, in JU we find for Spring Cave, "May be the same site as Pantrepant Cave". All we can do to maintain some continuity with the JU cave register is to assign our Pantrepant West Cave as the JU “Pantrepant Cave”. West Cave is a Taino site with glyphs, and fills the bill, so we are going with this solution.
Pantrepant West Cave was visited after East Cave (Spring Cave) with a 2km hike in between the two. This was through pastureland on Pantrepant Estate and, other than a few cattle that seemed rather combative, was a pleasant walk. Ivor had visited the cave before, and was able to lead us directly to it, so there was no time wasted.
The glyphs at this site are noticed as soon as one reaches the cave, and like East Cave, are on a stalagmite towards the front of the shelter under a protective overhang.
Old hard breccia was noted on the walls, with embedded snail shells. There is potential here, because this site is not known to have been visited by a palaeontologist in the past.
A few Artibeus bats are roosting in a large fissure that extends back into the hill and supplies a darker area, but the roost is too small to result in appreciable guano deposits.
There is no true dark-zone, so there are no troglobitic species present. The openness of the cave causes temperature and humidity to be at outside ambient conditions, so we also did not notice any trogs.
The graffiti noted is in the form of charcoal writing on the wall, from the modern era.
As with Spring Cave, we are listing this site with a high degree of vulnerability, because of the petroglyphs, and the ease with which they could be damaged or stolen (by cutting off the stalagmites).
Pantrepant West Cave
May 15, 2005
Notes: DK Roggy
This shelter cave is mostly just an undercut into an escarpment that sits next to a field. A fissure in the middle opens up a bit of space that extends back a little way, partially blocked by a large boulder. Ivor went behind the boulder and found nothing of note.
In the front of the cave, within the dripline is a stalagmite that stands about 1.5m tall. All carvings that I noted were on the SE side. Toward the top of the stalagmite there appears to be a petroglyph that is of a face inscribed within a circle. It is fairly eroded, but I believe that I see an eye and mouth in the photo I took of it (IMG_4783). In the middle of the column appears to be a face inscribed within a square (IMG_4781). The carving at the bottom is the most interesting. It looks like a head and body, with arms curving upward to form a semi-circle (IMG_4784). I noted that these glyphs lie on a bearing of 130 degrees (mag) to the side of the escarpment, which effectively blocks any clear sight-lines on bearings less than that. I made these observations keeping in mind the possibility Ron Dalton had mentioned to us that such carvings might be aligned to mark significant times of the year, i.e. summer and winter solstices.
If this petroglyph were to be so aligned, it would be with the Winter solstice. Whether the sun would be at a bearing of 130 degrees (mag) 1000 years ago or more will have to be calculated.
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