Using the online indexes

Three indexes providing references to Descent are currently online: authors of main articles, reports of fatalities and obituaries, and a complete listing of all area maps and cave surveys.

The indexes are based in part on the published indexes, currently completed in four publications to issue (133). This work has been extended and entries amalgamated in this online version. It provides an alphabetical listing of authors, obituaries and surveys and an ideal way to locate many of the major entries to cave names and equipment covered by gear reviews as well as obituaries and expeditions.

Author index

Only references to major articles appear in the author index; this does not include the many and diverse short news reports, but only articles that were listed on the contents page (plus, in some instances, larger reports in the news sections). The published indexes extend to all authors supplying even short news reports and letters, which are not included here.

References are provided in the form of issue number, date and page(s). Handbooks are designated H and numbered for convenience (click here for further information on handbooks and yearbooks).

Multiple authors (generally up to three) are entered with all names recorded as double or triple entries. Where more than three authors are involved, these are recorded under the first alphabetical author and marked et al (in some instances, all authors are included in this manner).

Obituary index

The central column in the obituary index records either 'obituary' or 'fatality'. The intent is to offer guidance to the nature of the entry in Descent, but these are not always clear cut. For 'obituary', the reference is to a vale or other tribute, while for 'fatality' the reference is to a report or article concerning a fatal incident, or a report of a caver's death that may not necessarily be due to an accident (instead, a record of his or her passing) but which may or may not include personal details.

In addtion, Descent (198) carried an article recording all known caving fatalities in the UK from 1775 to 2006 (pp29-31). Information from this resource does not appear in this index and should be considered a primary research tool for investigating cave-related fatalities. Further details may be contained within the BCRC rescue statistics (not included in this index), references to which are listed in the Author Index. If a caver is of specific interest, note that there may be articles detailing their works in other editions; check the Author Index for possible information there.

References are provided in the form of issue number, date and page(s). Any work of this scope is unlikely to be perfect: please let us know about any corrections that are required.

Survey index

The Survey index includes references to area maps. Surveys may be complete or partial, representing the whole cave or a recent extension. Sites located in the UK and Ireland appear under the cave name; other sites are listed under their country. However, note that country names may have changed during the period covered by Descent and thus a cave may not appear under the correct 'modern' country in this index. If ordering a back issue to obtain a specific survey, please double check with the information on the back issue page and/or contact the editor.

References are provided in the form of issue number and page(s) separated by a colon, for example 216:27 (issue 216, page 27). Handbooks are designated H and numbered for convenience.


Any work of this scope is unlikely to be perfect: please let us know about any corrections that are required. If you are ordering a back issue to obtain a specific article, please double check the article title with the information on the relevant back issue page before placing your order; these are linked from each issue number. However, as some major news reports have also been included in this online index, not all references will appear on the contents page (this will usually be made evident by the low page number, as most news pages appear before p20 in the magazine).

Compiling these indexes has taken a great deal of time and it is made freely available for readers' use. Please respect the copyrights involved in this website and the surveys in Descent detailed here.

Advanced search

In addition, an Advanced Search feature allows you to search all indexes together, alongside the rest of the website.