Jamaican Caving Notes
Ruined Ground Cave
April 7, 2005
Team: Stewart, Roggy, Slack.
Notes: RS Stewart
Ruined Ground Cave is located in a cliff to the NE of the Pantrepant-Windsor road, ~650 metres west of the T-junction where the Welcome to Windsor sign is found. It is not easily visible from the road, but can be found by going 650 metres along the road from the junction, and then hiking straight towards the cliff for 265 metres at a bearing of 55 deg true. The entrance is slot-like and about three metres wide and six high, and it is essentially a walk-in cave, although there are a few boulders to pass. Inside, there is one medium-sized (~25m diameter) dome-shaped chamber. The centre of the floor has been lowered somewhat by digging, presumably the majority of it for extraction of guano, and underlying nutrient-enriched dirt.
The cave is another of H. E. Anthony's palaeo sites, and was studied by D. McFarlane in the 1990's. Excavations were in deep sediment on the floor of the cave, but hard breccia is also present. An "Arawak" midden was also found here by Anthony.
We have been informed by people of the district that small-scale guano extraction has taken place here in the past, but it is not ongoing at this time due to exhaustion of the deposits. None of the cave is in actual dark zone, and the bat-roost found here is believed to consist primarily of light-tolerant Artibeus. We saw no bats during our visit, but sprouting Rose Apple indicated that it is still used as a roost at times. It would be expected that bat numbers are never great, and substantial accumulation of guano would be a slow process.
This was my second visit to the cave, the previous time having been in the late-1990's, and Elizabeth, Dietrich, and I had hiked here after visiting Long Mile earlier in the day. Ruined Ground is located on land farmed by friends of ours, so we checked-in with them, and chatted for a few minutes before making our way across the fields to reach the entrance. Our plan was to have a look at current conditions, and georeference the entrance, since this had not been possible during my first visit because of the presence of SA on the GPS signal (not removed until May, 2000).
One of the first things I noticed once we'd entered the cave was how dry and warm it was. The rains had not begun yet in any big way, and the interior of the cave was at outside ambient temperature and humidity.
There were no troglobites present, due to lack of dark-zone. An extensive area in front of the cave is under complete cultivation, and above/behind the entrance is a very steep hillside. This land-use might be partly responsible for the absence of crickets and frogs that would otherwise be expected in a cave such as this.
We are confused somewhat by the discrepancy between the Jamaica Underground description of the cave, and what is actually found. In JU, we find a length given of 10 metres, and the actual size, although we did not measure it, would be closer to 20. We also have, "A domed chamber about 8m high". Perhaps this was from Anthony, and before excavation for guano, because the chamber is more like 16m high. The actual entrance location is 150 metres from the JU coordinate plot, but this is within the normal range of accuracy. We know of no other cave near this site, and the description in JU of, "domed chamber", and "Cave in a cliff", certainly matches.
We are listing this site with a medium vulnerability, due to its history as both an archaeo and a palaeo site, but there does not seem to be any immediate prospect of change in land-use, or resumption of guano extraction, and the site is not exactly pristine now, so this cave is really a rather low priority candidate for protection.
Ruined Ground Cave
April 7, 2005
Notes: DK Roggy
A rather interesting shelter cave. A large entrance in the side of a limestone escarpment brings one into a large, round room with a floor that is perhaps 3m below the entrance. The ceiling might be somewhere around 10m above, with an aven above, perhaps extending another 5 m. The room is probably 15m wide. I found some small skulls of what appeared to be rodents, and there looked to be evidence of fruit bats, from some of the fruit pits I also found.
|Jamaican Cave Notes - Main Page||March-April 2005 Caving Notes - Main Page|