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Earth Mysteries: The Mysterious layers of Gilmerton Cove

Updated on April 26, 2011

Now we are going to take a small trip across the pond to our neighbors in England. In Edinburgh, which is a small sleepy town surrounded by vast fields and woods. There is a small out cove that has some almost mystical earth properties that continue to amaze and confuse people to this day. What is unique about this location is that it is under the very town locals refer to it as “Gilmerton Cove”.

These megalithic caves were strewn out of pure sandstone when build. The cove itself is made up of a series of caves that run for about fifty feet through a main passageway. The cove has a couple of different entrances on either side located only about fifteen feet below the ground.

The caves are originally thought to have been built by a local blacksmith that wanted to live as part of the earth. His name was George Paterson. He worked for months hewn out large corridors and several rooms with natural skylights open to the air. The furniture he was constructing consisted of the earth materials he was digging so large tables and chairs made from the same sand stone can still be seen. But, there being a part of his life where he either gave up or ran out of money in building it he never made the necessary improvements that were needed for living in the underground chambers. Air shafts are needed for ventilation and the water level not being controlled flooded the cave unexpectedly.

As you walk along the main corridor you can see where there is still old wood post suggesting it was cut off from the rest as a room. There are also open air skylights that have been since closed off for safety so could be considered a cellar to some.  Just a very odd approach with some on in the 17th century to go through so much trouble and then just stop. Some theorize that the caves where actually part of something larger in the past but do not have the evidence to support it. Like if there was a upper structure once to the caves. Maybe it was an old fashioned wine tasting cellar for those interested ion tasting and threshing wine we may never know though.

The first real survey of the Cove was completed in the early nineteen hundreds by a local archeologist. F.R Coles was the one doing the digging and surveying. He concluded that the sandstone that was used to make it was using pointed tools and not the chisels and previously thought. So the conclusion he has made is that it dates back a lot older than just the 1700s. Was Patterson the original creator as thought or could this be a work of early man that has somehow weathered the thousands of years of earth movements. But, FR Coles concluded with the technology at the times it would take approximately 5 years to chisel it out with pointed tools. Plus the beds and tables hewed out of stone indicate a lot early then cave man times.

So how old is this structure really? No one really knows it is going to take a tremendous amount of digging and artifacts to find before we would really be able to tell the time it was made. None the less it is a modern wonder that is not as well known. So if you get a chance check out Gilmerton Cove



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  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    7 years ago from London, UK

    I've never heard of and therefore found it very interesting. Thank you for sharing.


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