TROGLODYTE, n. Specifically, a cave-dweller of the paleolithic period, after the Tree and before the Flat.

AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914)


Nottingham Caves

It is illegal to rent out a cave in Nottingham. It’s an offence covered by the Nottingham Inclosure Act 1845, which is still in force. The area that makes up what it is now Nottingham city centre was once known as Tiggua Cobaucc or Place of Caves. People were living in them as early as the 11th century and many were still inhabited when the Inclosure Act was introduced in 1845. The act tightened the rules on the rental of cellars and caves as homes for the poor by unscrupulous landlords.

A 17th century rhyme about a less benign aspect of the enclosures went:

The law locks up the man or woman  
Who steals the goose off the common  
But leaves the greater villain loose  
Who steals the common from the goose. 

Nottingham was originally called 'Snotengaham'. It was ruled by a Saxon Chief named Snot, and literally means ‘the homestead of Snot's people’. 


The word ‘cavemen’ is essentially part of the vocabulary of children's books; it isn't a term that's used by historians or archaeologists at all.
There are 277 cave sites throughout Europe which were evidently used by prehistoric people (such as at Altamira in Spain and Lascaux in France, and in the UK Creswell Crags in Derbyshire) who left paintings and evidence of fires, cooking, rituals and burials there, but these were not treated as permanent dwelling-places. Stone age people were nomads who lived in small tent-like shelters. 


It was a miracle of rare device, a sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!


People think I'm a miserable sod but it's only because I get asked such bloody miserable questions.

Cave Art

The oldest known piece of art is 77,000 years old.  Two pieces of ochre ground smooth and covered in geometrical patterns found in Blombos Cave in South Africa in 1999 and 2000, suggest that human art is twice as ancient as previously believed. Until now the record has been held by cave paintings in France dated at 35,000 years old.

A curious aspect of European cave art is that it flourished for 5,000 years in an essentially unchanged style but then died out completely around 9000 BC, for unknown reasons. 6,000 years passed before any more great art was produced.

Cave of Roses

The Cave of Roses was a pre-enlightenment form of execution from Sweden which was finally abolished in 1772. The condemned man would be placed in a pitch-black cave with a number of poisonous snakes and reptiles, knowing that it would be only a matter of time before his movements caused a fatal bite.

200 years after abolishing the Cave of Roses, Sweden became one of the first countries to abolish the death penalty altogether.

Neanderthal man was discovered in a cave 1856 by two limestone quarry workers.

Ammunition was stored in the caves in Reigate during the First World War.

People who live in caves are called troglodytes, from the Greek for 'those who get into a hole'.

There are more people living in caves in China today than the entire population of the world in the Stone Age.

Cavefish are colourless, blind and have their anuses on their necks.