Exhibition Objects

Welcome to Exploring Objects. Here you can explore the rich collection of objects that have been unearthed from the Creswell Heritage Area. To find an object, type in the words that best describe what you are looking for and click ‘Search’

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Cave sediment and hare bones  © 2000 The Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester

Cave sediment and hare bones

Arctic hare bones deposited in Ice Age cave deposits from Church Hole. Hare bones 12,000 years old.

This small block of sediment was removed from the upper part of the sequence in Church Hole in 1876. Mixed in with the sediment are animal bones. All of these bones, except for one large fragment, are from arctic hares (Lepus timidus) and a vertebra, ribs, shoulder blades (scapulae) and a fragment of leg bone (distal femur) are all recognisable. The long bones have all been broken open for their marrow. Cut marks made by flint tools on several of the bones, as well as microscopic pieces of flint and charcoal, support the idea that people were bringing snared hares back to the cave to eat close to the end of the Last Cold Stage. The age of the femur is about 12,000 radiocarbon years ago.

The oval hole in the femur is where it has been sampled for radiocarbon dating, a sample which gave an age of 12,110 ± 120 BP (OxA-4108). This specimen was chosen for dating because of the clear cut marks on the distal articulation, made when the hind leg was severed between this bone and the tibia. The block of breccia (calcite cemented sediment) gives an unique insight into what the naturally stony floor of the cave must have looked like in the Late Upper Palaeolithic and into the use of the cave by people camping at Creswell Crags and trapping hares in the surrounding landscape. Processing hares has also been dated to this time at Pin Hole and Robin Hood Cave.

Glossary: Anatomically modern humans, Artefact, Assemblage, Backing, Biface, Blade, Breccia, Bronze Age, Butt, Calcite, Carbonate, Cordiform, Core, Cortex, Creswellian, Culture, Debitage, Distal, Early Upper Palaeolithic, Flake, Flake tool, Flowstone, Glacial, Hafting, Handaxe, Ice Age, Interglacial, Last Cold Stage, Late Upper Palaeolithic, Marrow, Middle Palaeolithic, Neanderthal, Palaeolithic, Pleistocene, Proximal, Radiocarbon, Retouch, Sediment, Speleothem, Stalactite, Stalagmite, Striking platform, Tool, Travertine, Upper Palaeolithic

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