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The Gibraltar National Museum Caving Unit (GMCU) is part of the Gibraltar National Museum’s Caves Research Project. This has been running since 1989, working in key archaeological sites around Gibraltar including researching sites and collections excavated in the past.
The GMCU was established in 2011 with the aim of researching those caves which require specialist skills to access them. Such caves are numerous in Gibraltar.
The GMCU currently has nine members. The GMCU’s members are largely volunteers, each bringing different specialist skills and qualifications to the Unit ranging from surveying to abseiling and researching to people trained to work in confined spaces.
The GMCU is best known for its pioneering work in cataloguing the caves of Gibraltar. Before the formation of the Unit, the official list of the caves of Gibraltar totalled 154. As a result of the dedication of the Unit’s members, and with the help of its sister unit the Gibraltar Museum Underwater Research Unit (URU) , the official list has been updated to include 214 cave sites and counting! New cave systems and sites have been discovered recently and are now being studied and are being protected for the future.
Part of the work of the GMCU is to research the caves’ varied historical uses. Many new and exciting facts about the history of our caves, including who discovered and named them have been unearthed. This research has involved interviewing members of the public who have shared their personal experiences while caving and exploring in Gibraltar in the past.
The GMCU is also heavily involved with Gib-Bats, a bat conservation project, in collaboration with the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GONHS) under HM Government of Gibraltar’s Department of the Environment. So far this project has yielded some very interesting results including the discovery of a species new to Gibraltar.
The GMCU is also working closely with specialists from GONHS in sampling Gibraltar's underground sites for invertebrates and other cave-dwelling fauna.
Underground Gibraltar, an 8 episode television series featuring the work of the GMCU is now available on YouTube.
Here's a taster:
Watch the entire series here.
For further information please email caving.unit @gibmuseum.gi