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The Excavation at Minchin Hole 1973 by D. Q. BOWEN FOLLOWING EXPLORATORY WORK in the summer of 1972 new excavations were com- pleted between April 25th and May 12th, 1973. A large working party enabled rapid progress to be made, and altogether some 150 visitors were able to see the exposed sections. The directors Drs. D. Q. Bowen, U.C.W. Aberystwyth and A. J. Sutcliffe (British Museum), are being assisted by specialists in other fields: Dr. A. Stuart (Cam- bridge) rodent remains, Dr. J. R. Haynes (Aberystwyth) foraminifera, Dr. A. R. Lord (U.C.L. London) ostracods, Dr. J. G. Evans (Cardiff) mollusca, Professor C. Kidson (Aberystwyth) beach deposits, Dr. K. Crabtree (Bristol) pollen, B. Conway (Institute of Geological Sciences) sediments and Professor F. W. Shotton (Birmingham) C14 dating. The directors recorded the stratigraphy, and one of them (A.J.S.) examined the mammalian remains. HISTORICAL Excavation in Minchin Hole has been carried out for well over a century. Hugh Falconer in the 1850's examined the mammalian remains collected by Colonel Wood from several Gower caves (Murchison 1868). He noted that in Minchin Hole a sand with shells underlay the ossiferous deposits which included remains of narrow nosed rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus hemitoechus), and straight tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus). At the same time he recognised that two faunal assemblages occurred in the Gower caves, one a temperate or interglacial assemblage, the other, with woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros, of cold or glacial aspect. Professor T. N. George's classic Pleistocene investigation in Gower (George 1932) included a description of the beds exposed near the entrance of the cave. These were: (1) Patella beach, (2) an ossiferous breccia, with remains of temperate fauna, (3) Neritoides beach, (4) blown sands. During the 1940's Gower caves were studied by Allen and Rutter (1948), while in the next decade further work was carried out by Rutter and Mason (Rutter 1948-1955) at Minchin Hole. During this, Pleistocene mammals were recovered from the lower beds, while human occupation levels were recorded from upper levels. More recently the Pleistocene chronology of the cave deposits has been discussed in the context of a wider region by Bowen (1970-1973). THE EXCAVATION The recent work was carried out firstly, because it was thought that a longitudinally exposed section might enable stratigraphic relations between the 3 principal sets of deposits to be observed. Secondly, to see if the strati- graphic record had any bearing on current controversy relating to the Thames terraces (Sutcliffe & Bowen 1973) and the Pleistocene history of the Irish/Celtic sea (Mitchell 1972, Bowen 1973a, 1973b). A major trench was excavated from the entrance as far as the ramp