Pin Hole

The first known find from Pin Hole was a palate and milk teeth of a young woolly mammoth made by A.T.Metcalfe. This and subsequent finds prompted further exploration.

In 1875 Magens Mello, the Rector of Brampton in Derbyshire, and Thomas Heath, the curator at Derby Museum, dug into the cave up to five metres from the entrance. Following this work, Leslie Armstrong removed a large quantity of the cave deposit between 1924 and 1936. However, Armstrong did not completely empty the cave but finished digging about half way along its length where he preserved a 4 metre high section.

Between 1986 and 1989 modern techniques were used on this section during work directed by Rogan Jenkinson. This combined work uncovered a rich collection of artefacts and animal bones.

Who used Pin Hole?

Neanderthals were the first people to use this cave while hunting reindeer in the Creswell area. They left behind groups of flint and quartzite tools made between 60,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Later during the Ice Age people used this site during the Early Upper Palaeolithic between 40,000 and 28,000 years ago and during the Late Upper Palaeolithic about 12,500 years ago. Artefactual evidence from the most recent period include examples of flint, bone and ivory tools as well as two engraved bones, the 'Pin Hole Man' and a rib with a cross hatched design.

Which animals lived in the area?

The large number of bones excavated from Pin Hole had been heavily gnawed. The most likely predator to have gnawed these bones was the spotted hyaena who denned in the cave and presumably brought their prey back to the site.

The cave floor must have been littered with bone fragments. The spotted hyaenas' prey, either hunted or scavenged, comprised mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, horse, reindeer and bison. The cave deposits also contained a rich collection of small mammal bones such as bats, voles, shrews and lemmings. Excavators also found remains of snails, bird eggshell and fish bones and scales.

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