Martin's Cave is a cave in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It opens below its summit at O'Hara's Battery, it is an ancient sea cave, though it is now located over 700 feet above the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is only accessible. Gibraltar is sometimes referred to as the "Hill of Caves" and the geological formation of all the caves is limestone. Formed before the arrival of humans, its creation, that of other caves in its vicinity, is attributed to the cracks and fissures within formations of the rock along which erosion occurred, its extreme length from the entrance is 114 feet. There is only one outlet from within the cave; the cave was said to have been discovered in 1821 by a soldier named Martin, after whom it was named. According to an 1829 account, the soldier had been "wandering about the summit of the Rock somewhat inebriated" and was absent from that evening's muster, he was feared to have fallen over the precipice and to have been dashed to pieces on the rocks below.
Three days after disappearing, however, he reappeared with torn and dirty clothes and a haggard appearance. He had indeed fallen but had landed on a narrow ledge in front of the entrance to the cave, before being rescued. At the time, reaching the cave was difficult; the Royal Engineers made, Martin's Path, a small approach path above the precipice to facilitate access. A visitor described the perilous journey to get there a few years after it was discovered: The path which we are obliged to traverse in order to get to it, is one of considerable difficulty and danger. We left our horses in charge of a servant half a mile from the cave, proceeded along a narrow ledge, formed by art and with much labor, about three feet wide, until we reached the desired spot... The south end and all the eastern side of Gibraltar is – or rather had been deemed, inaccessible, as it rises perpendicularly from the sea, presents to the eye no ledges or asperities to encourage one to ascend or descent it, no matter what might be his inducement.
In the 1860s, Captain Frederick Brome, the governor of Gibraltar's military prison, sought permission from the Governor of Gibraltar to explore Martin's Cave, as well as St. Michael's Cave, Fig Tree Cave and Poca Roca Cave, with the objective of finding archaeological evidence of the past use of the caves; the Governor agreed to the proposal. A ten-member team of prisoners began the explorations, with Martin's Cave being the first to be explored. Excavations commenced on 23 June 1868, continued until 22 July. There were no discernible traces of any previous attempts at detailed exploration, no inscription earlier than 1822 could be discovered in the cave. Parts of a human lower jaw, two bushels of bones belonging to ox, goat and rabbit were found. Other finds included two bushels of broken pottery. A small, brightly coloured, enamelled copper plate was found, which appears to have had a design upon it of a bird with an open bill in the coils of a serpent. Similar works of art, consisting of fragments of pottery and stone implements were unearthed.
The two swords both just over a metre long dating to the 12th or 13th century were unearthed. The British Museum has seven items in its collection donated by Captain Brome. Six of these are the two swords, a scabbard, two buckles and a plaque which were all found in Martin's Cave. During World War II Gibraltar's caves were extended and exploited by the military including and Martin's Cave was used to house electric generators; the generators were removed but the holes that were drilled in the roof of the cave still have cables as evidence of the caves industrial use. A nearby battery became known as Martin's Battery; the cave is lit by natural light just after sunrise. Due to past vandalism, the entrance to the cave is kept behind a padlocked gate, a branch off the nature trail called Mediterranean Steps; the cave has been home to large groups of bats in the past. Despite the cave's entrance being covered by grills the cave was entered by youths who set off fireworks to disturb the bats. In November 1966, the cave was surveyed by the Gibraltar Cave Research Group.
An estimated 5000 Schreibers' bats Miniopterus schreibersii and 1000 large mouse-eared bats Myotis myotis were there in the 60s. There were no bats in 2002, despite it being an offence to interfere with bat populations in caves in Gibraltar; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: British Association for the Advancement of Science report
The Neolithic, the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first development of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago, marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world remained broadly in the Neolithic stage of development, although this term may not be used, until European contact; the Neolithic comprises a progression of behavioral and cultural characteristics and changes, including the use of wild and domestic crops and of domesticated animals. The term Neolithic derives from the Greek νέος néos, "new" and λίθος líthos, "stone" meaning "New Stone Age"; the term was coined by Sir John Lubbock in 1865 as a refinement of the three-age system. Following the ASPRO chronology, the Neolithic started in around 10,200 BC in the Levant, arising from the Natufian culture, when pioneering use of wild cereals evolved into early farming.
The Natufian period or "proto-Neolithic" lasted from 12,500 to 9,500 BC, is taken to overlap with the Pre-Pottery Neolithic of 10,200–8800 BC. As the Natufians had become dependent on wild cereals in their diet, a sedentary way of life had begun among them, the climatic changes associated with the Younger Dryas are thought to have forced people to develop farming. By 10,200–8800 BC farming communities had arisen in the Levant and spread to Asia Minor, North Africa and North Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of plants, both wild and domesticated, which included einkorn wheat and spelt, the keeping of dogs and goats. By about 6900–6400 BC, it included domesticated cattle and pigs, the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, the use of pottery. Not all of these cultural elements characteristic of the Neolithic appeared everywhere in the same order: the earliest farming societies in the Near East did not use pottery.
In other parts of the world, such as Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, independent domestication events led to their own regionally distinctive Neolithic cultures, which arose independently of those in Europe and Southwest Asia. Early Japanese societies and other East Asian cultures used pottery before developing agriculture. In the Middle East, cultures identified as Neolithic began appearing in the 10th millennium BC. Early development occurred from there spread eastwards and westwards. Neolithic cultures are attested in southeastern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia by around 8000 BC; the prehistoric Beifudi site near Yixian in Hebei Province, contains relics of a culture contemporaneous with the Cishan and Xinglongwa cultures of about 6000–5000 BC, neolithic cultures east of the Taihang Mountains, filling in an archaeological gap between the two Northern Chinese cultures. The total excavated area is more than 1,200 square yards, the collection of neolithic findings at the site encompasses two phases.
The Neolithic 1 period began around 10,000 BC in the Levant. A temple area in southeastern Turkey at Göbekli Tepe, dated to around 9500 BC, may be regarded as the beginning of the period; this site was developed by nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes, as evidenced by the lack of permanent housing in the vicinity, may be the oldest known human-made place of worship. At least seven stone circles, covering 25 acres, contain limestone pillars carved with animals and birds. Stone tools were used by as many as hundreds of people to create the pillars, which might have supported roofs. Other early PPNA sites dating to around 9500–9000 BC have been found in Jericho, West Bank, Gilgal in the Jordan Valley, Byblos, Lebanon; the start of Neolithic 1 overlaps the Heavy Neolithic periods to some degree. The major advance of Neolithic 1 was true farming. In the proto-Neolithic Natufian cultures, wild cereals were harvested, early seed selection and re-seeding occurred; the grain was ground into flour. Emmer wheat was domesticated, animals were herded and domesticated.
In 2006, remains of figs were discovered in a house in Jericho dated to 9400 BC. The figs are of a mutant variety that cannot be pollinated by insects, therefore the trees can only reproduce from cuttings; this evidence suggests that figs were the first cultivated crop and mark the invention of the technology of farming. This occurred centuries before the first cultivation of grains. Settlements became more permanent, with circular houses, much like those of the Natufians, with single rooms. However, these houses were for the first time made of mudbrick; the settlement had a surrounding stone wall and a stone tower. The wall served as protection from nearby groups, as protection from floods, or to keep animals penned; some of the enclosures suggest grain and meat storage. The Neolithic 2 began around 8800 BC according to the ASPRO chronology in the Levant; as with the PPNA dates, there are two versions from the same laboratories noted above. This system of terminology, however, is not convenient for southeast Anatolia and settlements of the middle Anatolia basin.
A settlement of 3,000 inhabitants was found in th
Forbes' Quarry is located on the northern face of the Rock of Gibraltar within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. The area was quarried during the 19th century to supply stone for reinforcing the fortress' military installations. In the course of the quarrying, a limestone cave was found; the second Neanderthal discovery was made within this cave when Cpt. Edmund Flint found the skull of an adult female Neanderthal in 1848. Forbes' Quarry borrows its name from an 18th-century military installation located directly above the cave and known as Forbes' Battery. An ancient skull was found within Forbes' Quarry by Captain Edmund Flint of the Royal Navy in 1848. Being the secretary of the Gibraltar Museum Society, he presented his find to the society on 3 March 1848; this was only the second Neanderthal fossil found. The skull had unusual features, but its significance as a representative of an extinct human species was not realised until 1864, eight years after the 1856 discovery of the more extensive assemblage of Neanderthal remains in the Neander Valley of Germany that became the type specimen and source of the name of the species Homo neanderthalensis.
The Forbes' Quarry skull attracted the attention of prominent scientists in Great Britain when it was presented at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in September 1864. Charles Darwin had long been curious about the skull, but was too ill to attend the meeting, so geologist Charles Lyell and anthropologist Hugh Falconer arranged to bring the skull to his residence so he could examine it. In a letter, Darwin described the skull as "wonderful"; the skull found at Forbes' Quarry has been determined to be that of an adult female. She was over age 40 at the time of her death, as indicated by extensive wear on the teeth, as well as a bony growth inside the forehead, observed in modern humans, in whom it occurs after menopause; the original find was done in a time where the palaeontological dating was still in its infancy, no stratigraphic information was supplied with the skull, making dating at best guesswork. Another specimen from a different locale on Gibraltar has however been dated to between 30 thousand to 50 thousand years old.
This is the site of the most recent evidence of the Neanderthals of Gibraltar, which are thought to have been present here until as as 28,000 years ago. The area was quarried for stone during the 19th century to supply much-needed material to reinforce and rebuild many of the fortress' fortifications; this activity removed much of the vegetated slope at the cavern's base. The cave in which the Neanderthal skull had been deposited was totally destroyed, leaving little evidence for future research. List of fossil sites Media related to Forbes' Quarry at Wikimedia Commons