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 horse teeth © 2000 Natural History Museum, London

Butchered horse teeth

Upper Palaeolithic food remains from Mother Grundy’s Parlour, 12,000 years old.

A group of four cheek teeth from wild horse (Equus ferus) from Mother Grundy's Parlour, Creswell Crags. Excavated by A.L. Armstrong after 1923, these teeth have been broken providing direct evidence for butchery by people. The teeth are about 12,000 years old. At this time all horse were wild animals hunted for food and raw materials such as their skin and bones, as well as sinews and tendons which could be used to make string.

The lower jaw of an animal is a good source of marrow, the soft, fatty and nutritious substance contained within bones. The easiest way to recover the marrow from the jaw is to break open the lower edge using a stone hammer. Heavy blows would sometimes be powerful enough to break the base of the cheek teeth. Each of the four teeth shown here has been transversely fractured in this way. This evidence is extremely important on a site where other forms of evidence, such as cut marks on bone, can be obscured by natural weathering of the bone surface and lines created by the roots of plants. Radiocarbon dates from two of the teeth at 11,970 ± 75 BP (OxA-8738) and 12,170 ± 80 BP (OxA-8739) provide good evidence for people butchering horse at Mother Grundy's Parlour during the Late Upper Palaeolithic.

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, Marrow, Middle Palaeolithic, Neanderthal, Palaeolithic, Pleistocene, Radiocarbon, Radiocarbon dates, Retouch, Tool, Upper Palaeolithic