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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Butchered reindeer leg bone © 2000 Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge

Butchered reindeer bone

Bone from lower back leg of reindeer with cut marks from Creswell Crags, specific site uncertain. Middle Palaeolithic food remains, 60,000 - 40,000 years old

The butchering and disarticulation of a reindeer's (Rangifer tarandus) back leg (astragalus) using stone tools created these cut marks on the bone. This bone from Creswell Crags is greater than 42,000 years old suggesting that Neanderthal hunters were responsible for catching and butchering this animal.

Direct radiocarbon dates on this bone to greater than 42,700 years ago (OxA-3418) is similar in age to a fragment of reindeer tibia dated to 37,200 ± 1300 BP (OxA-3417). The use of an organic glue during the conservation of the tibia may result in this age being a minimum date and that the age is older than 40,000 years. Both dates suggest that Neanderthals were hunting reindeer during the Middle Palaeolithic at Creswell Crags.

Glossary: Anatomically modern humans, Artefact, Assemblage, Backing, Biface, Blade, Bronze Age, Cordiform, Core, Cortex, Creswellian, Culture, Debitage, Early Upper Palaeolithic, Flake, Flake tool, Glacial, Hafting, Handaxe, Ice Age, Interglacial, Late Upper Palaeolithic, Middle Palaeolithic, Neanderthal, Palaeolithic, Pleistocene, Radiocarbon, Radiocarbon dates, Retouch, Tool, Upper Palaeolithic