Bay of Gibraltar
The Bay of Gibraltar is a bay at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It is around 10 km long by 8 km wide, covering an area of some 75 km2, with a depth of up to 400 m in the centre of the bay, it opens to the south into the Strait of the Mediterranean Sea. The shoreline is densely settled. From west to east, the shore is divided between the Spanish municipalities of Algeciras, Los Barrios, San Roque, La Línea de la Concepción and the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; the larger part of the shoreline is Spanish territory, with part of the eastern half of the bay belonging to Gibraltar. The east and west entrances to the bay are marked by the Europa Point Lighthouse at Europa Point and the Punta Carnero lighthouse to the west of Algeciras; the area around the Bay of Gibraltar has been inhabited for millennia and the bay itself has been used by merchant shipping for at least 3,000 years. The Phoenicians are believed to have had a settlement near Gibraltar and the Romans established the town of Portus Alba on the site of modern Algeciras.
Peoples, notably the Moors and the Spanish established settlements on the shoreline during the Middle Ages and early modern period, including the fortified and strategic port at Gibraltar, which fell to England in 1704. The bay's strategic position at the mouth of the Mediterranean has made it a much-contested body of water over the centuries, it has been the site of several major sea battles, notably the Battle of Gibraltar and the Battle of Algeciras bay. During the Second World War, Italy launched human torpedoes from Algeciras on several occasions in attempts to sink British ships moored in the Gibraltar harbour, with mixed success due to the work of Commander Crabbe. More there has been a persistent dispute between Spain and Gibraltar over British sovereignty in the Bay of Gibraltar. Spain claims not to recognise British sovereignty in the area save for a small portion around the Port of Gibraltar, but the UK has asserts a normal 3 nmi limit around Gibraltar, with a demarcation in the middle of the bay.
This claim contradicts, according to the Spanish government, the treaty of Utrecht of 1713, by which Spain ceded to Great Britain the city and port of Gibraltar and the internal waters of that port, without granting any territoriality over the surrounding waters in the Bay of Algeciras. This has caused tensions between the two sides over the issue of Spanish fishermen operating in British Gibraltar territorial waters. Both have signed, are bound, by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which specifies territorial waters. After the arrest of a Spanish fishing vessel by the Royal Gibraltar Police in 1998, the problem subsided. An incident in the area in 2007 concerning the Odyssey Marine Exploration was resolved in court cases by 2012 with Spain being awarded the ownership of the treasure-trove; the bay is a breeding area for several dolphin species, notably the Common Dolphin, Striped Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin, is visited by migratory whales. It is a popular destination for tourist whale-watching trips from Gibraltar.
The other major draw for tourists is scuba diving: the area is rich with wrecks and historical artifacts such as crashed Avro Shackleton aircraft and Sherman tanks from the Second World War, ancient anchors from Phoenician and Roman ships. To encourage marine diversity an artificial reef was constructed in the bay at the end of the runway; the area around the bay in Spain is industrialised with extensive petrochemical installations near San Roque and working ports in both Algeciras and Gibraltar. The bay's waters are used by a considerable number of large and medium-sized ships, notably oil tankers and freighters. Oil bunkering activities are heavily carried out; the CEPSA Gibraltar-San Roque Refinery, located in Spain, occupies 1.5m m² and employs 1,000. In 2015 the refinery produced 13.8m tons of fuel, 260,000 tons of purified Terephthalic acid, 170,700 tons of purified Isophthalic acid and 157,300 tons of Polyethylene terephthalate. In 2007 a serious sulphur incident happened as well as intermittent flaring episodes.
The impacts of such upsets on surrounding neighbourhoods had provoked outrage and public protest which led to the Consejería de Medio Ambiente of the Junta de Andalucía to order an independent audit aimed at investigating such incidents. The refinery continues to cause concern with close co-operation between various groups monitoring its activities. Fuel tanks on ships are known as bunkers, the process of fueling termed bunkering. Due to its geographical position on a major shipping route, Gibraltar is one of the largest bunkering ports in the Mediterranean, followed by neighbour Algeciras in Spain; the ports in the Straits — Algeciras and Gibraltar — are the second bunker market in Europe, behind the so-called Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp area. In Gibraltar 4,300,000 t of bunker fuel were delivered in 2007 compared with just 840,000 t in 1990 and bunkering is now the main activity within the Port of Gibraltar. Of a total of 8,351 deep-sea vessels which called at Gibraltar in 2007, 5,640 were supplied with fuel.
Algeciras recorded bunker sales of about 2,400,000 t in 2008. From the 24,535 vessels called at the Port of Algeciras Bay, 2,173 took on fuel. Gibraltar in 2009 supplied over 4,200,000 t of fuel; the local CEPSA refinery produces supplies much of the fuel for bunkering in the bay which it delivers on seven dedicated barge to either
Timeline of the history of Gibraltar
The history of Gibraltar portrays how The Rock gained an importance and a reputation far exceeding its size and shaping the people who came to reside here over the centuries. Evidence of hominid inhabitation of the Rock dates back to the Neanderthals. A Neanderthal skull was discovered in Forbes' Quarry in 1848, prior to the "original" discovery in the Neander Valley. In 1926, the skull of a Neanderthal child was found in Devil's Tower. Mousterian deposits found at Gorham's Cave, which are associated with Neanderthals in Europe, have been dated to as as 28,000 to 24,000 BP, leading to suggestions that Gibraltar was one of the last places of Neanderthal habitation. Modern humans visited the Gibraltar area in prehistoric times after the Neanderthal occupancy. While the rest of Europe was cooling, the area around Gibraltar back resembled a European Serengeti. Leopards, lynxes and bears lived among wild cattle, deer, ibexes and rhinos – all surrounded by olive trees and stone pines, with partridges and ducks overhead, tortoises in the underbrush and mussels and other shellfish in the waters.
Clive Finlayson, evolutionary biologist at the Gibraltar Museum said "this natural richness of wildlife and plants in the nearby sandy plains, shrublands, wetlands and coastline helped the Neanderthals to persist." Evidence at the cave shows the Neanderthals of Gibraltar used it as a shelter "for 100,000 years." Cro-Magnon man took over Gibraltar around 24,000 BCE. The Phoenicians are known to have visited the Rock circa 950 BC and named the Rock "Calpe"; the Carthaginians visited. However, neither group appears to have settled permanently. Plato refers to Gibraltar as one of the Pillars of Hercules along with Jebel Musa or Monte Hacho on the other side of the Strait; the Romans visited Gibraltar. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Gibraltar was occupied by the Vandals and the Goths kingdoms; the Vandals did not remain for long although the Visigoths remained on the Iberian peninsula from 414 to 711. The Gibraltar area and the rest of the South Iberian Peninsula was part of the Byzantine Empire during the second part of the 6th century reverting to the Visigoth Kingdom.
711 30 April – The Umayyad general Tariq ibn Ziyad, leading a Berber-dominated army, sailed across the Strait from Ceuta. He first failed. Upon his failure, he landed undetected at the southern point of the Rock from present-day Morocco in his quest for Spain, it was here. Coming from the Arabian words Gabal-Al-Tariq. Little was built during the first four centuries of Moorish control. 1160 – The Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mu'min ordered that a permanent settlement, including a castle, be built. It received the name of Medinat al-Fath. On completion of the works in the town, the Sultan crossed the Strait to inspect the works and stayed in Gibraltar for two months; the Tower of Homage of the castle remains standing today. 1231 – After the collapse of the Almohad Empire, Gibraltar was taken by Ibn Hud, Taifa emir of Murcia. 1237 – Following the death of Ibn Hud, his domains were handed over to Muhammad ibn al-Ahmar, the founder of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. Therefore, Gibraltar changed hands again. 1274 – The second Nasrid king, Muhammed II al-Faqih, gave Gibraltar over to the Marinids, as payment for their help against the Christian kingdoms.
1309 – While the King Ferdinand IV of Castile laid siege on Algeciras, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán was sent to capture the town. This was the First Siege of Gibraltar; the Castilians took the Upper Rock from. The garrison surrendered after one month. Gibraltar had about 1,500 inhabitants. 1310 31 January – Gibraltar was granted its first Charter by the king Ferdinand IV of Castile. Being considered a high risk town, the charter included incentives to settle there such as the offering of freedom from justice to anyone who lived in Gibraltar for one year and one day; this fact marked the establishment of the Gibraltar council.1316 – Gibraltar was unsuccessfully besieged by the Nasrid caid Yahya. 1333 June – A Marinid army, led by Abd al-Malik, the son of Abul Hassan, the Marinid sultan, recovered Gibraltar, after a five-month siege. King Alfonso XI of Castile attempted to retake Gibraltar aided by the fleet of the Castilian Admiral Alonso Jofre Tenorio. A ditch was dug across the isthmus. While laying the siege, the king was attacked by a Nasrid army from Granada.
Therefore, the siege ended in a truce, allowing the Marinids to keep Gibraltar.1344 March – After the two-year Siege of Algeciras, Algeciras was taken over by the Castilian forces. Therefore, Gibraltar became the main Marinid port in the Iberian Peninsula. During the siege, Gibraltar played a key role as the supply base of the besieged. 1349 – Gibraltar was unsuccessfully besieged by the Castilian forces led by the king Alfonso XI. 1350 – The siege was resumed by Alfonso XI. It was again unsuccessful due to the arrival of the Black Death, which decimated the besiegers, causing the death of the king. 1369 – As the Civil War in Castile came to an end, with the murder of king Peter I by the pretender Henry, the Nasrid king of Granada, Muhammad V, former ally of Peter, took over Algeciras after the 3-day Siege of Algeciras. Ten years the city was razed out to the ground, its harbour made unusable; this fact increased again the importance of Gibraltar, yet in Marinid hands, i
Operation Flavius was a military operation in which three members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army were shot dead by the British Special Air Service in Gibraltar on 6 March 1988. The three—Seán Savage, Daniel McCann, Mairéad Farrell —were believed to be mounting a car bomb attack on British military personnel in Gibraltar. Plain-clothed SAS soldiers approached them in the forecourt of a petrol station opened fire, killing them. All three were found to be unarmed, no bomb was discovered in Savage's car, leading to accusations that the British government had conspired to murder them. An inquest in Gibraltar ruled that the SAS had acted lawfully, while the European Court of Human Rights held that, although there had been no conspiracy, the planning and control of the operation was so flawed as to make the use of lethal force inevitable; the deaths were the first in a chain of violent events in a fourteen-day period. On 16 March, the funeral of the three IRA members was attacked by a loyalist wielding pistols and grenades, leaving three mourners dead.
At the funeral of one of the mourners, the IRA shot two undercover British soldiers who had driven into the procession. From late 1987, the British authorities were aware that the IRA was planning to detonate a bomb at the changing of the guard ceremony outside the governor's residence in the British Dependent Territory of Gibraltar; when Savage, McCann and Farrell travelled to Spain in preparation for the attack, they were tracked at the request of the British government. On the day of the shootings, Savage was seen parking a white Renault in the car park used as the assembly area for the parade. After a military bomb disposal officer reported that Savage's car should be treated as a suspected bomb, the police handed over control of the operation to the SAS; as soldiers were moving into position to intercept the trio, Savage split from McCann and Farrell and began running south. Two soldiers pursued Savage while two approached Farrell; as soldiers caught up with Savage, he was alleged to have turned around to face them while reaching into his jacket.
All three were subsequently found to be unarmed, Savage's car was found to contain no explosives. Two months after the shootings, the documentary "Death on the Rock" was broadcast on British television. Using reconstructions and eyewitness accounts, it presented the possibility that the three IRA members had been unlawfully killed; the documentary proved controversial. The inquest into the deaths began in September 1988, it heard from British and Gibraltar authorities that the IRA team had been tracked to Málaga Airport, where they were lost by the Spanish police, that the three did not re-emerge until Savage was sighted parking his car in Gibraltar. The soldiers each testified that they had opened fire in the belief that the suspected bombers were reaching for weapons or a remote detonator. Among the civilians who gave evidence were the eyewitnesses discovered by "Death on the Rock", who gave accounts of seeing the three shot without warning, with their hands up, or while they were on the ground.
Kenneth Asquez, who told the documentary that he had seen a soldier fire at Savage while the latter was on the ground, retracted his statement at the inquest, claiming that he had been pressured into giving it. On 30 September, the inquest jury returned a verdict of "lawful killing". Dissatisfied, the families took the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Delivering its judgement in 1995, the court found that the operation had been in violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights as the authorities' failure to arrest the suspects at the border, combined with the information given to the soldiers, rendered the use of lethal force inevitable; the decision is cited as a landmark case in the use of force by the state. The Provisional Irish Republican Army aimed to establish a united Ireland and end the British administration of Northern Ireland through the use of force; the organisation was the result of a 1969 split in the Irish Republican Army. The IRA killed civilians, members of the armed forces, police and prison service, including off-duty and retired members, bombed businesses and military targets in both Northern Ireland and England, with the aim of making Northern Ireland ungovernable.
Daniel McCann, Seán Savage, Mairéad Farrell were, according to journalist Brendan O'Brien, "three of the IRA's most senior activists". Savage was an explosives expert and McCann was "a high-ranking intelligence operative"; the Special Air Service is a regiment of the British Army and part of the United Kingdom's special forces. The SAS was first assigned to operations in Northern Ireland in the early stages of the British Army's deployment there, but were confined to South Armagh; the first large-scale deployment of SAS soldiers there was in 1976, when the regiment's D Squadron was committed. The SAS specialised in covert, intelligence-based operations against the IRA, using more aggressive tactics than regular army and police units operating in Northern Ireland. From late 1987, the British authorities we
Communications in Gibraltar
Communications in Gibraltar comprise a wide range of telephony systems, Internet access and satellite control. There is printed and online media. Regulation of telecommunications and broadcasting are the responsibility of the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, established by means of the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority Act in 2000; the first submarine telegraph cable started its operation in Gibraltar in 1870. Gibraltar was a landing point of the long-range submarine cable that from Porthcurno, in the United Kingdom ran to Lisbon, Malta, Suez, Bombay, over land to the east coast of India on to Penang, Singapore, Batavia, to reach Darwin, Australia, it was the first direct link between Great Britain. The company that laid the first part of the cable took the name of Falmouth and Malta Telegraph Company and had been founded in 1869; this company operated as the Eastern Telegraph Company from Mount Pleasant in Gibraltar and became Cable & Wireless. The first telephones were introduced to Gibraltar in 1886 by a private company, taken over by the colonial authorities.
The first wireless message was transmitted to Gibraltar in 1903. Since 1926, the telephone service was operated by the City Council. An automatic exchange was installed in the last floor of the City Hall. On 4 April 1927, following an agreement signed between the Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España, the Spanish incumbent telecommunications operator, the Gibraltar City Council, direct communications between Spain and Gibraltar were established. Upon the approval of the 1969 Constitution and the dissolution of the City Council, the telephone service was transferred to the newly formed Government of Gibraltar. In the 1970s there were three generations of automatic telephone exchange equipment in use with four and five digit numbers; the volume of calls grew and a System X digital exchange was installed. Until 1990, all telephone services were operated by the Gibraltar Government Telephone Department. International circuits were provided by Cable & Wireless, present in Gibraltar since 1870 as the Falmouth, Gibraltar Telegraph Company.
However, Cable & Wireless left Gibraltar in 1987. On 1 January 1988, British Telecom and the Government of Gibraltar formed a joint venture company called Gibraltar Telecommunications International Ltd to operate Gibraltar's international telecommunications services. Gibtel was subsequently granted a licence to offer mobile telephony introducing a GSM900 network. In 1990, the Government decided to privatise its Telephone Department and therefore entered into a joint venture with Nynex of the United States. Gibraltar Nynex Communications Ltd became responsible for fixed-line telephony. GNC was the first acquisition of Nynex outside the Americas. In 1997, GNC, through its wholly owned subsidiary, GNC Networks, commenced Internet services. GNC Networks was renamed GibConnect. ADSL services were introduced in 2002. In 2001, BT sold its 50% stake in Gibtel to GNC. Both companies subsequently merged to form Gibtelecom, a joint venture between the Government of Gibraltar and Nynex's successor company, Verizon.
The name Gibtelecom begun to be used in July 2002, as of 1 October 2003 this name was formally adopted by the company. In April 2007, Verizon sold its shares to Telekom Slovenije, the incumbent telecommunications operator in Slovenia and is quoted on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange. Telephones - Numbers in use: 25,000 Telephones - mobile cellular: 15,000 The telecommunications infrastructure in Gibraltar is modelled on that of the UK. Telephone jacks are British Standard BS 6312, as opposed to the RJ11 versions found in other parts of Europe and the world. Calling code: +350 Telecommunication services in Gibraltar were subject to Spanish restrictions until 10 February 2007. Subsequent to the resolution of the dispute, the Gibraltar telephone numbering plan has been increased to eight digits for land lines, adding a prefix of 200 to the existing Gibtelecom five digit numbers, required to be dialled from October 2008. Gibtelecom was prevented from having roaming agreements with Spanish GSM networks so its mobile phones did not operate in Spain.
Gibtelecom had roaming arrangements with local GSM networks in most other countries. After the Córdoba Agreement, Gibtel could roam on Spanish network Movistar; as of recent customers can now roam on Yoigo. Orange still does not allow Gibraltar phones to register. In the 1980s there was a shortage of local line capacity on the existing crossbar exchange, which itself had replaced the relay and Strowger switch exchanges and a modern digital System/X switch was installed. Cable and Wireless, who provided international circuits installed a satellite earth station which made International Subscriber Dialling possible; when the frontier with Spain was re-opened and telex circuits cut by General Franco were re-established. Subsequently, fibre links into the FLAG cable system were established and along with microwave links to Morocco giving Gibraltar a resilient communications infrastructure. Gibtelecom is a partner in the EIG cable system, which will have a landing point in Gibraltar. Provision for Local Loop Unbundling was introduced in Gibraltar, under the
MV Fedra was a Liberian-registered bulk-carrier cargo ship. It ran aground and smashed against Europa Point, the southernmost tip of Gibraltar on 10 October 2008 following severe gale force winds measuring 12 on the Beaufort scale. Spanish and Gibraltarian emergency services mounted a joint rescue operation, Gibraltar declared a Major Incident and requested the standby of additional statutory and voluntary emergency services, although due to the safe rescue of all crew from Fedra they were not needed. Five of its 31 crew members were airlifted to safety by a Spanish coast guard helicopter and the rest were hoisted up by an improvised crane system; the vessel broke in half shortly thereafter. About half of its 300 tons of fuel spilled into the sea; some of such oil washed ashore along Gibraltar's western coast in the area of Rosia Bay and Camp Bay. Spanish sources said that some fuel from Fedra had washed up on some Campo beaches having drifted as far as Tarifa. There were oil slicks in the Bay of Gibraltar.
Fedra avoided becoming a permanent shipwreck when the forward section was re-floated and towed round into the Bay of Gibraltar in February 2009. It was moored alongside the South Mole in Gibraltar Harbour; the superstructure was cut away from the hull of the aft section, was placed the dockside at HM Naval Base. A report was released by the Gibraltar Maritime Association in January 2012 which reveals how the Company undermined the Master of Fedra and his authority in his attempts to save both the crew and the ship; the report explains the various aspects which led to the demise of MV Fedra. MV New Flame Searle, Dominique. "Cargo ship hits Gibraltar rocks in heavy seas". Reuters. Retrieved 11 October 2008. "Bulk Carrier FEDRA runs aground in severe weather". Gibfocus. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2008. "El vertido de fuel se extiende por el Estrecho y llega hasta Ceuta". El País. Retrieved 15 October 2008
Geology of the Iberian Peninsula
The geology of the Iberian Peninsula consists of the study of the rock formations on the Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar. The peninsula contains rocks from every geological period from Ediacaran to Holocene, many types of rock are represented. World-class mineral deposits are found there; the core of the Iberian Peninsula consists of a Hercynian cratonic block known as the Iberian Massif. On the northeast this is bounded by The Pyrenean fold belt, on the southeast it is bounded by the Betic Foldchain; these twofold chains are part of the Alpine belt. To the west, the peninsula is delimited by the continental boundary formed by the opening of the Atlantic Ocean; the Hercynian Foldbelt is buried by Mesozoic and Cenozoic cover rocks to the east, but outcrops through the Iberian Chain and the Catalan Coastal Ranges. The Iberian Massif consists of rocks from the Paleozoic Era, it was assembled about 310 Ma. Several zones occur in the Iberian Massif; these were the pieces.
On the north coast of Spain occurs the Cantabrian Zone. To the west and in the Iberian Chain and Catalan Coastal Ranges is the West Asturian-Leonese Zone; the Central Iberian Zone appears near A Coruña, through the north of Portugal, through the middle of Spain, including the Montes de Toledo. The Ossa-Morena Zone outcrops out to the east of Lisbon; this includes some Precambrian rocks. The furthest south part is the South-Portuguese Zone; the Variscan Orogeny occurred as the European Hunic Terrane and Laurentia-Baltica continents collided. In Iberia this occurred in pre-Stephanian Carboniferous; the external part of the orogeny was the Cantabrian Zone. This was deformed in the upper crustal layers; the West Asturian Leonese Zone and Central Iberian Zone are the external parts of the orogeny and are more deformed and metamorphosed, intruded. These three zones are part of one terrane; the Ossa-Morena Zone and South Portuguese Zone are two different terranes. In the Mesozoic this was covered with other sediments, which have since eroded.
The Cantabrian Zone consists of older Paleozoic unmetamorphosed rocks. It is bounded on the west and south-west sides by a concave arc of Precambrian rocks called the Narcea window, the Villabandin window in the Narcea antiform; the Herreria Formation from the Lower Cambrian consists of shale and feldspathic sandstone alternating, with some conglomerate. These have a thickness of 1 to 1.5 km. The Lancara Formation consists of a couple of hundred metres of limestone; the lower part was formed in peritidal zones in the Lower Cambrian, the upper member from the Middle Cambrian contains fossils and is red or green glauconictic and nodular limestone. The Oville Formation from Middle to Upper Cambrian contains alternating sandstone. Trilobite fossils are common in the shale; the Barrios Formation is Arenigian and up to 500 metres thick. It consists of a white massive quartzite; the Penas and Vidrias area, close to the western boundary of the Cantabrian zone has a complete succession of Ordovician deposits.
Black shales from Llanvirnian times are found in the Central Coal Basin eastern side. But in the Ordovician Period, this zone was above water and eroding; the Formigoso Formation dates from Middle Llandovery time in the Silurian. It is up to 150 m thick; the San Pedro and Furada Formations are up to 300 metres thick and consists of shale and iron bearing sandstone interbedded, These are from Wenlock Ludlow and Lower Gedinian times. In the Devonian Period deposition occurred on the western side, with dolomite, argillaceous limestone and shale from the Raneces Complex or La Vid Formation, it is 600 metres thick and Gedinian to Emsian in age. The Santa Lucia Formation is of limestone, it contains coral near the Narcea Antiform in the west and has peritidal facies in the east near the Central Coal Basin. The Huergas Formation alternates between red sandstone and shale and is of Couvinian to Givetian age; the Portilla formation is of coralline limestone of Givetian to Frasnian age. This is topped off by sandstone layers up to 500 m thick from the Frasnian to Fammenian age.
Devonian sediments are not found to the east of the central coal basin, are thickest in the west. A pelagic facies comes from the Pisuerga-Carrion province. In Carboniferous times deposition started with black shales and cherts from the Tournaisian age, red limestone, red shale and radiolarites were formed in the Visean age. Mountain Limestone is a thick black lifeless limestone of Serpukhovian age. Turbidites with olistoliths appear in the Serpukhovian, indicating the first sign of the Hercynian tectonic events; these first events happened in the Pisuerga-Carrion province. Variscan compression lifted the west side. Over time the compressed zone moved towards the east. In the Namurian A stage, the Olleros formation was byukt from turbidites in a trough in front of the orgen, the Barcallente formation was a carbonate platform further off shore. In the Namurian B stage the trough was forming San Emillano Formation, the Valdeteja Formation was offshore, but in deeper marine conditions. During Westphalian A time the trough was filled and deposits of terrestrial material formed the San Emiliano Formation and Sama Group and the Lena group being thickest in the Central Coal Basin Unit.
Further east in the Picos de Europa it remained covered in shallow water with continuous formation of a carbonate platform. The Westphalian age is represented by 5000 m of the Central Coal Basin, which as the name su
Gorham's Cave is mistaken for a natural sea cave, but is in fact a sea level cave, in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It is considered to be one of the last known habitations of the Neanderthals in Europe, it gives its name to the Gorham's Cave complex, a combination of four distinct caves of such importance that they are combined into a UNESCO World Heritage site, the only one in Gibraltar. The three other caves are Vanguard Cave, Hyaena Cave, Bennett's Cave, it is located on the southeastern face of the Rock of Gibraltar. When first inhabited some 55,000 years ago, it would have been 5 kilometres from the shore, due to changes in sea level, it is now only a few metres from the Mediterranean Sea; the cave is named after Captain A. Gorham of the 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers who discovered it in 1907, when opening a fissure at the rear of a sea cavern. Gorham inscribed his name and the date of his discovery in lamp-black on the wall of the cave, which has borne his name since.
After this initial discovery, it seems the cave was forgotten—at least at an official level—as Gibraltarian historian and potholer George Palao recalls an inscription on the cave wall that read J. J. Davies 1943. Gorham's Cave is a sea cave. Total length of this cave is 100 m and at the entrance it is 35 m high. Further inside the cave becomes narrower and turns per 90 degrees. From the entrance of cave opens a view on the Alboran Sea, it is possible. Gorham's Cave has been a site of archaeological interest; the beach below the cave had been inaccessible from the cliffs above. Royal Engineers Keighley and Ward were the first to report artefacts of archaeological interest in the cave via the Gibraltar newspapers, they had found stone tools. Moreover, they reported that animal remains had been discovered in Gorham's cave. Rev. F. E. Brown of the Gibraltar Society reported these findings to the governor of Gibraltar who requested further investigations after a site visit; these investigations were reported to the British Museum for their deliberation.
Lieutenant George Baker Alexander, Royal Engineer and a graduate geologist from the University of Cambridge, arrived in Gibraltar in 1945. He decided to make a geological survey of Gibraltar. Alexander was the first to excavate Gorham’s Cave, before his departure from Gibraltar in 1948 after the Gibraltar Museum challenged his methods. There are no preserved materials about these excavations. In 1945, the governor wrote to the British Museum requesting that they continue further explorations of the cave; the museum had no resources, however, so they forwarded his enquiry to Professor Dorothy Garrod at Cambridge, who had found a Neanderthal skull at Devil's Tower Cave during her earlier work in Gibraltar in the 1920s. Garrod sought the assistance of Dr. John d'Arcy Waechter, a fellow of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara. Waechter arrived in September 1948 and spent two months digging test pits to see if further excavation would be justified. Waechter's success resulted in his return in June 1950.
He went back to England in 1951, without concluding the work and returned from February to July 1952. During a final visit in 1954 he requested financial assistance from the local government to complete his work. Excavation of this site has resulted in the discovery of four layers of stratigraphy. Level I has produced evidence for eighth to third centuries BC use by Phoenicians. Below that, level II produced evidence for brief Neolithic use. Level III has yielded at least 240 Upper Paleolithic artefacts of Solutrean origin. Level IV has produced 103 items, including spear-points and scraping devices that are identified as Mousterian, shows repeated use over thousands of years. Accelerator mass spectrometry dating gives dates for level IV of between 33 and 23 thousand years before the present —the researchers felt that the uncertainties at this time depth made calibration impractical, they suggest occupation until at least 28 kyr BP and 24 kyr BP. No fossil remains have been found that would allow identification pointing to either Neanderthal or anatomically modern human inhabitants, nor associated with findings of a modern human in a site at nearby Abrigo do Lagar Velho, Portugal of 24,500 years ago who may have featured Neanderthal genetic admixtures, although Mousterian culture is identified with Neanderthals in Europe.
The floor of the cave was found to be scratched in July 2012. Researchers uncovered a series of criss-crossing lines over ~1 m2, cut into the surface of a ledge about 100 metres from its entrance; the scratches consist of eight lines arranged in two groups of three long lines and intersected by two shorter ones, used to suggest it is a symbol. The scratches are thought to be at least 39,000 years old, because they were found below a layer of undisturbed sediment of that age in which hundreds of Neanderthal stone tools were discovered; the attribution of the scratches to Neanderthals is disputed. Matt Pope of University College London cautions that "linking them directly to Neanderthal populations, or proving Neanderthals made them without any contact with modern humans is harder; the dates were indirectly obtained and refer to the material from within sediments covering the scratches and not the marks themselves. Given the dates span a period when we know modern humans have reached