Mother Grundy's Parlour

One of the first people to dig here was a man from Creswell village. He was acting on information from his wife who had a dream of buried treasure in the cave. Not long after this event a hippopotamus tooth was offered for sale.

These finds prompted the Reverend Magens Mello and Professor W.Boyd Dawkins to excavate here in 1878, work which was supervised by Donald Knight. They removed almost all of the deposits from the chamber and side passage. Since that time, Leslie Armstrong in 1923-1925, Charles McBurney in 1959 and 1960, John Campbell in 1969 and Simon Collcutt in 1974 have carried out excavations. This later work concentrated on undisturbed deposits on the scree deposits that led up to the cave.

Who used Mother Grundy's Parlour?

Armstrong's work uncovered a large collection of flint artefacts directly in front of the cave. The presence of fractured horse teeth showed that Ice Age hunters were butchering horse at this site 12,000 years ago.

Deposits that are more recent contained the remains of charred hazelnuts.

Radiocarbon age estimates show these to be about 8,500 years old. This means that people were camping outside of the cave during the early Post Glacial period.

Which animals lived in the area?

The 19th century excavation established for the first time the presence of hippopotamus and narrow-nosed rhinoceros. These animals were living in the Creswell area between 130,000-110,000 years ago in the warm period before the Last Ice Age.

Lists of bones excavated from the cave chamber show that bears, spotted hyaenas, foxes, and bison were also present at this time. Later, during the Last Ice Age, bone remains show that spotted hyaena occupied the cave and that bears, woolly rhinoceros, horses, reindeer and bison lived in the area.

Explore the objects found in Mother Grundy's Parlour


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