Event: BCRA 29th Cave Science Symposium, Full Programme

Photo © Robbie Shone

The British Cave Research Association is pleased to announce the final details of the 29th Annual Cave Science Symposium to be held Saturday 13th October, 2018 in Bristol, as well as a field trip to GB Cave, Mendip on Sunday 14th October, 2018.

Whether you are an academic, an amateur scientist, or a caver wanting to find out more about the karst environment, you should find something of interest at the Symposium.


This year’s scientific themes will include:

  • Highlighted Theme: Cave Archaeology and Palaeontology
    • Includes a keynote by Prof. Alistair Pike (Uni. Southampton) titled Neanderthal cave art and the new origins of human symbolic behaviour
  • Hydrogeology and Geomorphology
  • Cave Monitoring
  • Biology

The University of Bristol Spelæological Society have kindly offered to show symposium attendees around their museum following the close of the symposium. Numbers are limited to 20 and are available on a first-come first-served basis. Please visit the pre-registration form to register for visiting the museum (https://doodle.com/poll/4zib83s43fb3fc59).

The timetable is included at the end of this circular, whilst the abstracts will be posted to the BCRA forum and Facebook page. Similar to previous years, the BCRA AGM will be held at 12 pm.


Please pre-register your attendance via this simple online form (https://doodle.com/poll/4zib83s43fb3fc59). If you have already pre-registered, apologies but please could we ask you to do it again as the form has since been updated to reflect optional extras. Additionally, registration will take place on the day between 8.30 and 9.15 am in the foyer of the School of Geographical Sciences.

The admission charge, to include morning and afternoon refreshments will be £5, with free entry to speakers, students and BCRA members. Please have your membership number with you. Donations to help finance the meeting will also be appreciated.

Venue & Transport

The address for the venue is School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SS, United Kingdom. Further details on ‘where to find us’ are located here (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/geography/contact/). The Geographical Sciences Building is #27 on the campus map, which also includes details of public car parks (https://tinyurl.com/y7qduz67). Note that these are all expensive NCP car parks so car sharing is advised. Parking is also available on University Road, but this is for a maximum of 2 hours.


A variety of lunch purchasing options are available in the vicinity of the venue. Seating is also available in the venue for anyone who brings their own.

Evening Meal

Following the symposium and UBSS museum visit, we will head for an informal early evening meal at 6pm at the Zero Degrees Microbrewery (http://www.zerodegrees.co.uk/restaurants/bristol/), half a mile from the symposium venue.

To keep things simple, Zero Degrees have offered us their party menu of starter plus main course for £19.95. Desserts may be added for £3. Menus are included at the end of the circular (ignore the prices of the desserts, which are confirmed as £3). A 10% service charge will automatically be added of which 100% is shared amongst the staff. If you would like to join us for the meal, please select this option before September 24th on the pre-registration form (https://doodle.com/poll/4zib83s43fb3fc59). Menu choices (found at the end of this circular) should be sent to Gina ([email protected]) by October 1st, and you will be asked to pay in advance either by bank transfer, paypal, or cash on the day.

Field Trip: Geology and Geomorphology of GB Cave – Sunday 14th October, 2018

For those who would like to get underground, BCRA will be running a post Cave Science Symposium field trip on Sunday 14th October to GB Cave, hosted by Dr. Andy Farrant. This field trip will examine the geology, geomorphology and hydrology of what is one of the finest, and most intensively studied caves in the country. No previous geological experience is necessary.  Due to access restrictions, numbers are limited to 5 in the first instance, but if there is sufficient demand, a second trip can be run on the same day (10 max). Participants will be on a first-come first-served basis.

This will be a 2-2.5 hour caving trip. Full protective caving clothing including helmet, boots and lights will be required for this trip. A CCC permit is also required (see http://www.cscc.org.uk/ for details), which can be arranged on the day. No novices or carbide. If you are interested please sign up on the pre-registraton form ((https://doodle.com/poll/4zib83s43fb3fc59) before October 8th. BCRA have also booked 10 places at the Wessex hut for the night of Saturday 13th October. This may also be booked on the pre-registration form.

Summary and Overview Map

  1. The symposium is on 13th October in the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. Doors open 8.15am. Proceedings start at 9.20am.
  2. Registration is free to BCRA members, speakers and students. £5 to everyone else. Donations are appreciated.
  3. Please visit the pre-registration form (https://doodle.com/poll/4zib83s43fb3fc59) to register for the symposium (even if you have already, sorry), UBSS museum visit, evening meal (before September 24th), Wessex accommodation and GB fieldtrip (before October 8th).
  4. For a single map showing the location of Geographical Sciences (symposium venue), Zero degrees (evening meal), UBSS Museum, and local car parks, see here: https://tinyurl.com/y9vyqu55
Time Oral Presentations – Provisional Titles Presenter
08.30 Doors open, registration, book sales, coffee
09.15 Take seats
09.20 Welcome and housekeeping
Session 1: Hydrogeology and Geomorphology Chair: TBC
09.30 Sinkhole morphology, characteristics and migration on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, Jordan Rob Watson
09.50 The Chalk – the UK’s most important karst region Andy Farrant
10.10 Real time active fault monitoring in caves, with examples from Austria and Spain Matthew Rowberry
10.30 Introduction to Posters
10.40 Coffee, Posters and Book Sales
Session 2a: Cave Monitoring Chair: TBC
11.15 British Cave Monitoring Centre – latest developments and opportunities Andrew Smith Daniel Simonsen
Session 2B: Biology
11.35 Web characteristic comparisons between Meta menardi and their non-troglophile relatives Metallina mengei and Tetragnatha montana Daniel Simonsen
11.55 Pause
12.00 BCRA AGM
13.00 Lunch
13.50 Return from lunch, take seats
Session 3: Cave Archaeology and Palaeontology Chair: TBC
14.00 Keynote: Neanderthal cave art and the new origins of human symbolic behaviour Alistair Pike
14.40 Recording the lost “Atlantis” Landscapes: Presenting a non-invasive methodology for archaeological cave field survey in the context of Santorini (Thera) Island, Greece Konstantinos Trimmis
15.00 Coffee, Posters and Book Sales  
Session 3: Cave Archaeology and Palaeontology Continued Chair: TBC
15.30 The view from the edge: mammalian turnover and abrupt climate change during the last 60,000 years in SW England Danielle Schreve
15.50 Caves of Wonder: A Preliminary Analysis of the Faunal Assemblages from the Covesea Caves, NE Scotland Alex Fitzpatrick
16.10 Bone Hole, Cheddar Gorge:  Archaeological and Palaeontological Collections Graham Mullan
16.30 Summing up and details of Sunday fieldtrip. Close Andy Farrant John Gunn
17.00 Visit UBSS Museum
18.00 Evening Meal at Zero Degrees


Poster Presentations (10.40-11.15 & 15.00-15.30)
Going underground: Patterns in human taphonomy in Neolithic caves and burial monuments in Wales and south-west England Eirini Konstantinidi
Yorkshire Dales Cave Climate Monitoring Jo White
The Aquatic Invertebrate Fauna of the Ogof Draenen Cave System in South Wales Lee Knight
A Possible Neanderthal Ritual Cave on the Gower Peninsula: interim excavation results  John Cooper

Symposium Organisers

Please contact Dr. David Richards for details of the venue and local facilities in Bristol.  Contact Gina Moseley for details of the programme and for enquiries concerning oral or poster presentations. Contact Andy Farrant for details of the Sunday field trip.