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Rabbit hole leads to 700-year-old Knights Templar cave (bbc.com)
331 points by chris_chan_ on March 8, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments

Not a discovery. Not a rabbit hole. I grew up 2 miles from the caves/temple and went down the hole pictured many times. There's existing stuff about them online if you Google - not sure why the media is depicting this as a discovery - it's not!

Not sure if the Templar stuff is correct or not - I've seen nothing to corroborate this. Having been in the temple - it certainly seems very old.

The entrance is a hole carved out of the sandstone that you have to squeeze down into - it may look like a rabbit hole but it's not.

Lots of local kids & others know about it and use it as a place to hang out and drink and I'm pretty sure it's used for some sort of New Age rituals judging by the number of candles and detritus that are sometimes in there.

It's a hard place to find if you don't know about it. On private land - completely hidden and it's never really been publicised... until now.

Teenagers and children seem to find everything. We may make some significant archeological discoveries with a couple cheap surveys.

One of the largest caves in Poland was discovered by two teenagers playing in the forest(the English article on wikipedia is very poor,sadly)


To be fair, the article didn't tout it as a discovery. It just said that a local man went out to photograph them and shared it with the BBC.

It did to begin with. BBC changed the article when they realised.

Info via an archaeologist friend: while these caves are "said to be used by the Knights Templar", they probably date from the late 18th century at the earliest and have nothing to do with the medieval order.



> One suggestion is that they were the result of quarrying during the 19th century, and were then turned by the landowners, the Legge family, into a grotto. It is alternatively speculated that the caverns are older, perhaps dating back at least to the 17th century, and some have associated them with the Knights Templar.

> The caverns are located beneath privately-owned woodland. Since at least the 1980s, they have sometimes been used for informal secret ceremonies and rituals, and vandalised, and were closed to the public in 2012 as a result. Later reopened, they were accessed by a photographer in 2017, and received widespread publicity.

An interesting observation from the photos is that you can see evidence of light vandalization (mostly "names" carved into the rock). This implies these caves are part of some hyper local knowledge (at least as a party room for teenagers).

- I wonder what the oldest vandalization is?

- Could it be that there are many others in the area, which is why this hasn't been formally discovered before? How many times has it been "rediscovered" in the last 700 years?

- Is it actually a rabbit hole (as in: a hole used by rabbits) or just a "door"? Seems likely that it "looks" like a rabbit hole, but is actually a (perhaps maintained) door into the cave.

> In 2012, it was reported that the owners of the caves closed them to people wanting to visit after they found they had been filled with candles, graffiti and rubbish. The entrance to the caves was sealed up in attempt to keep the trespassers at bay.


Cool. The original article was lacking on details. Thanks for the context.

I posted the link to this (as in the original article everyone is referencing) hours ago, before the BBC post linked here. One of those times HN suffers if you post something that doesn't have a linkbait headline.

About the "oldest vandalization" - I remember seeing an exhibition on Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius (79AD), and there was a bunch of examples of preserved graffiti. There seemed to be lots of "Mr Speaker was 'ere", even then!

[edit: oh, article about it... https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/03/adrie...)

[edit 2: http://www.pompeiana.org/Resources/Ancient/Graffiti%20from%2... - lots of examples of texts they found: "Daphnus was here with his Felicla", "Restitutus has deceived many girls", "O walls, you have held up so much tedious graffiti that I am amazed that you have not already collapsed in ruin"!]

"If anyone does not believe in Venus, they should gaze at my girl friend" Reading these just emphasizes to me that these are people just like us. We might wear different clothes and speak different languages, but we really are just the same as people were thousands of years ago.

"If anyone sits here, let him read this first of all: if anyone wants a screw, he should look for Attice; she costs 4 sestertii." Seriously, I'm pretty sure I saw this same graffiti in a truck stop restroom stall once.

According to the link below, Attice's going rate is ~$24.

More seriously, I agree with your sentiment. There is something oddly comforting, seeing just how prosaic the graffiti of ancient civilizations are.


You might appreciate some Greek classics. I had the same epiphany while reading Aristophanes for the first time.

I can better that by a few thousand years. Egyption pyramids have graffiti tucked into corners, graffiti left by builders. I doubt there is any structure that doesnt have some improper mark left by someone during construction.

A nice example of this can be seen in the British Museum where one of the Assyrian Statues has a board game scratched into it's base, presumably by bored guards. There's a picture of it in this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35669056

I used to work as a welder in a shipyard. Deep in the hold, ribs never to be seen- dicks everywhere. It was almost poetic.

Newgrange[1] in Ireland has a bunch of extremely old graffiti and it's amazing. You can clearly see dates carved into the rock from the 1800s alongside people's names.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newgrange

How strange to see this atop Hacker News! I used to live in the nearby city and have been to these caves many times since being shown them around 2014 (I'm not sure why they're saying it was sealed up - it has been perfectly accessible via the 'rabbit hole' in the picture since that time at least, if you didn't mind a few spiders!).

I would conjecture that very few locals know about it - it really isn't something you'd find unless you knew what you were looking for and the few conversations I have had about it with people in the surrounding towns and villages frequently yield blank looks; the creation of a Wikipedia page for the caves only yesterday [1] also supports this hypothesis. That said, the inside is littered with cigarette butts and tea lights, so I am far from alone in knowing of its existence.

As for its purpose, I've always assumed it was some priest hole [2] variant, but have no evidence to support that.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caynton_Caves&act...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priest_hole

Hey by the way, you know Andrew Carnegie? Your Hall, and Universities, and public libraries? He was a very rich man back in the day, Rockerfeller would send him cardboard vests as an insult to his meagre past as a gift, and Andrew would send back bottles of whiskey to equal the insult (he was T-Total). He purchased "The Glen", an area of Land to be used by the public and gifted to his home town.

As a child, my friend and I used to hang around there all the time, we followed "The Burn" which is just a small stream really which is many hundreds of miles long. However we followed it for a long long time, and in the way of the stream, there is a cave, you need to go underground to get to it, and when you get there you need to enter a small collapsed column of stone, and then go back up.

In there is a cave and if you crawl through, you end up going back down again to end up in a cave which is very much like this image. At the front of the cave is a stone Altar and what appears to be a V shape carving that would hold a small book. There are carvings in the walls to hold what I guess are candles.

Anyway, it is our secret, and to this day, based on our observations over time, our intended collapse of the entrance remains in place, and even the outer rocks have caved in beside it.

I know that what my friend I found is of huge historic significance to the local area, almost certainly related to the St Margaret era and yet, knowing something is there like that, and knowing no one else knows is amazing.

I personally keep a 4x doze of Heroin accessible should life ever be grim, or should I ever be a burden, and that is where I plan to go to take the last train west. By the time someone else finds this, the skeleton will baffle them. (I might collapse hugging the altar just to fuck with them a while, o appear on a "Creepy" subreddit well into the future)

> By the time someone else finds this, the skeleton will baffle them.

If you ever feel the need to do that make sure you take a couple of dozen devices with you ranging from say the 1940's up to current tech.

You'll give some future historian conniptions.

We really have put some drunken thought into it over the years! A collection of random electronics spanned over generations would cause some wrinkled brows for sure.

It looks like the archway is filled with holes for candles. Lighting for meetings could not have been as trivial a task as it was for the researchers, who seem to have been able to toss down some cheap super bright LEDs(?).

An hour of good lighting in a subterranean cave in those days must have cost a fortune. (Per Jane Brox, anyway...)


I'm curious if you recommend the linked book?

The Planet Money discussion was a good teaser:


The reference to a rabbit hole makes no sense unless it's symbolic, since rabbits holes are about the size of a rabbit.

Video walking through the cave on Youtube is worth watching. https://youtu.be/maDTJsGgmD0

Be interesting to know more about the land owner, the title made it seem like they 'found' the entrance but the article implies the owner always knew about it

I guess they 'found' it in the sense that you find a library or a good coffee shop.

It's a metaphor folks..

  Rabbit hole leads to 700-year-old Knights Templar cave
An adventures for characters level 4-7.

There are a shocking number of low-effort reddit-like replies here. Can we please not turn Hacker News into yet another blackhole of "joke" replies?

Downvote bad comments, upvote good ones. It doesn't take much to shoo them away, at least so far.

Yeah, that's what everyone used to say about "Digg-like" comments on Reddit.

HN is actively moderated by admins. That's a fundamental and vital difference.

So is Reddit?

Reddit is moderated by mods, who are independent of the site.

Any random space alien cat can become a Reddit mod, and does. You've got to be hired by Reddit directly to become an admin.

The philosophy of Reddit is to allow subreddits to operate with very broad autonomy, save a few specific behavioural exceptions. There have been instances (spez's rewrites, for which he's apologised, of a small set of abusive comments), otherwise, but the overall philosophy is hands-off.

HN's is very much hands on, though it's mostly gentle guidance: admonitions, thread detaching, and if necessary, banning accounts, though pretty much always after a warning. If you go through dang and ... the other admin's accounts (sorry, other guy, but that's entirely nonmemorable), you'll see a great deal of activity. HN reflects the founders' and adminstrators' views far more than Reddit.

Mostly, that works out well, though it clearly doesn't scale to the extent Reddit does. This is not all bad.

Oh c'mon, that bit from Monty Python was the first thing I thought of too. There's nothing wrong with having a bit of fun every once in awhile.

Frankly, I found your post to be shockingly low-humour.

Also - sometimes it's refreshing to see an interesting post and not have to see replies about how someone is an expert at estimating the weight of rabbits based on the size of their hole. Or read about "orders of magnitude" of this or "straw-man" that.

I thought of Foucault's Pendulum.

Looks like the Knights Templar ripped off Morrowind. The architecture is nearly identical. Sad!

that farmer chose ... wisely

We've all been there

Likely the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

What are those candles made of? 700 years and still going. Unless of course that is an anachronism designed to make the cave look more mystical.

"Urban explorers" stage scenes like this all the time. Some people seem to be dead against it but I like it. Certainly better than the people who get into these places just to vandalise everything. :)

I read that they had sealed the caves few years ago because they were attracting black magic people

Title is Wrong. There is no consensus that this cave dates 700 years nor actually a Knights Templar Cave.

Is anyone going to say it? "That rabbit's dynamite!"

And after publicizing the name and blasting the location onto the internet, the unique archeological site will be vandalized profusely and destroyed in no time at all in the name of selfies and social media points. At best, visitor access will be limited or prevented entirely.

They should have waited till April first to publish this, so people would think its a Monty Python reference :p

I thought there was only one Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. How did they get past the rabbit?

Look at the bones!

Especially as it has a vicious streak a mile wide

No, no... I recognize that. That is where the Nac Mac Feegles live.

Dan Browns reaction upon hearing the news:


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