Non-destructive geophysical imaging techniques have been applied to the sedimentary deposits within reputedly the largest cave entrance chamber in Western Europe. The Vestibule of Peak Cavern is thought to have been the site of human habitation since the Late Palaeolithic. However, the depth to the cave floor, the sedimentology and the archaeology of the cave fill were all uncertain. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is shown to produce good quality images of dry cave deposits and underlying limestone cave floors. The GPR images show the sedimentological and archaeological distribution of the cave-fill, identify buried 'houses' and allow the mostly buried cave floor to be mapped. GPR and ground resistivity images combined with a Total Station survey of cave topography in a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) model. By combining the several independent lines of evidence within the model, the cave floor can be mapped. Further analysis of the CAD model has been used to address geological, speleological and archaeological issues. A follow-up data acquisition program could now be designed to improve the extent and quality of the GPR imagery in order to answer specific questions. Based upon this investigation and recent literature, the oldest deposits, within the Vestibule cave fill, are predicted to be located at the highest level. A 3D-GPR survey is recommended to define the stratigraphy of any lateral accretion surfaces within the cave fill and the effects of human activity in partially remodelling them.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Cave and Karst Science|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|