Caves, Fissures and Rockshelters

Introductions to Heritage Assets

An introduction to caves, fissures and rockshelters. Caves are defined here as naturally created subterranean voids, which have been used or adapted by humans, or natural trapping places for evidence for human activity. Vertical fissures are usually integral to cave systems, but can occur as unrelated features. A rockshelter is the area beneath a natural overhang or rock-face used by humans, but open to the elements and daylight.

A brief chronology (extending from around 500,000 years ago to the 20th century) of the various uses people have made of these places, from living to burial, is contained within the text. A summary of the academic interest in the asset type notes that associations with contemporary activities elsewhere in the landscape can be difficult to judge given that direct physical connections do not usually exist.


  • Summary
  • Introduction
  • Description
  • Chronology
  • Development of the asset type
  • Associations
  • Further reading
  • Where to get advice

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 16
  • Product Code: HEAG201


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
Email: [email protected]