Ask Cavers: What are the Top Caving Discoveries of 2013?

December 18, 2013
Caver John Dickie descends into Armageddon Pot.

Caver John Dickie descends into Armageddon Pot. Photo by Dave Ingold/Speleological Exploration Club

As we quickly approach the end of the year, for this weeks Ask Cavers question we want to hear what, in your opinion, was the biggest caving discovery of 2013 – and why.

Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments (6)

  1. December 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Armageddon cave, the oldest cave in the world and the deepest dry cave in South Africa. It was an amazing year.

  2. December 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    I think South Africa features right at the top with three significant discoveries in one year. A substantial as yet not fully explored system was opened in the North West province known as Pylon Cave the system continues to provide ongoing opportunity

    The discovery of Armegeddon cave in the same province has already set new records in size and length of a single chamber. Unlike the classic Dolomitic caves, this cave did not only appear in a area where dolomite is not a common occurrence but seems to have developed in a completely different manner to normal cave systems in the country.

    The Rising Star discovery, a well known speleologically visited cave provided to be the crown jewel of the anthropological world when two cavers decided to revisit some of the documented, but never visited passages in the cave system.

    Since access to this passage was and remains nearly inaccessible a call for certain sized researchers was sent world wide leading to the largest anthropological deposit yet discovered.

    This was indeed a year for the African continent and more specifically the South African continent.

    Andre (

  3. December 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

    The discovery of the Wild Wild West section of Binkley Cave system which has led to another 3+ miles of survey since March would have to be one of the three. There is huge potential there. They turned around in big walking passage last survey trip. It now appears quite likely that the new river in this section probably drains to a Blue Hole Spring almost 5 miles away so potential is such that some decade in the future Binkley could possibly be a 100 mile cave system.

  4. December 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Well the photo in this post is a good indication. It is of Armageddon cave, the deepest dry cave in South Africa. But the size is not as interesting as the geology, although the research on that still needs to be published.

    The other contender from this side of the world is the discovery of over 1200 hominin fossils in the Rising Star Cave system in South Africa. More fossils than have been found at any other site in Southern Africa.

    A very successful year for the Speleological Exploration Club!

  5. Dave Ingold
    December 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    My Dear Fellow cavers,

    I now have 55 years under my belt since i first began caving……………and this last one has been more amazing for me in South Africa than anything I’d ever imagined! We first (in January) discovered a new cave which, by mid-year we understood to be the deepest in South Africa, with hints of bigger secrets. By October official reports came in that this was the oldest cave on the whole planet! And this was not just years or thousands of years……but over four times older than its previous record holder. And I’d been there at the first exploration!
    Fantastic in and of itself. Then in the last quarter we have unleashed Rising Star System into the world: the richest hominin fossil site on the planet so far! More amazing fossils from this one cave than anywhere else on Earth – and there is so much more to come, our very own pre-history is about to be re-written. There is so much more to tell and we’ll love sharing it with our fellow cavers as it happens

  6. December 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Folks,

    I’d like to report a Krzysztof Starnawski’s dive in French cave Goul du Pont on June 2013. Consequently the dive, main line was moved 37m forward, 7 meters deeper to 192,7 m, where the new discovered “Bura” gallery begins. Maybe 7m of deep is not awsome number itself, but since 2006 this is the first step forward in this cave. This dive brings also a big potential for further exploration.
    See the link to watch the movie from this dive and get a short description (unfortunately only in polish)


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