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31 January 2004
Makeover for prehistoric British cave

Britain's oldest home is having a 600,000 makeover to bring it into the spotlight as one of Torquay's world class history sites and all-weather leisure attractions. Kents Cavern (Devo, England), which has just celebrated its centenary, is well on the way to completing a privately-funded redevelopment, that will be finished in late spring.
     The programme focuses on its world-class archaeological history and position as the most important prehistoric cave system in Britain. The work is the brainchild of Nick Powe; with the help of Business Link Devon and Cornwall, he devised a plan to move Kents Cavern away from its traditional role as a wet weather attraction and focus on its historical and geological heritage.
     Mr Powe said: "With visitor numbers dropping I was faced with a huge challenge and needed to take a step back and think about strategy for the future." An 80-seater visitor centre and reception area, are scheduled for completion at Easter.
     A team of experts from Exeter Archaeology has been monitoring ground excavations at the caves and found a number of artefacts. They include some prehistoric animal bones and a few human bones, which are currently being examined.
     Mr Powe said: "All this material will be returned to the caves and we will be displaying it in our new exhibition galleries once it has been properly identified." Kents Cavern is also applying for charitable status for its activities providing education and research resources and stages Stone Age events featuring prehistoric technology.

Source: Herald Express (30 January 2004)

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